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Feline Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a hypermetabolic state caused by excessive production and secretion of the thyroid hormone. This disease is typically seen in geriatric cats with a mean age of around 15 years.

Cats that are affected with this disease may demonstrate clinical signs of increased appetite (polyphagia), decline in body condition and/or coat condition, vomiting and increase water consumption with increased urination.

These are important clinical signs to monitor as your cat ages. Other illnesses can cause similar clinical signs such as diabetes, kidney disease or even heart disease. Therefore a thorough examination, complete blood work and urinalysis will help rule in or out the underlying causes.

Hyperthyroid cats on physical exam will often have an elevated heart rate, possible heart murmur, increased nail growth and palpable thyroid nodule. A majority of cats with hyperthyroidism will have a benign adenomatous nodular hyperplasia similar to toxic nodular goiter in humans. Blood work will typically reveal an elevated circulating T4 which leads to the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. Treatment of hyperthyroidism may include dietary management, Methimazole which is an oral medication, radioactive Iodine or surgery (Thyroidectomy). The therapy is usually determined and based on the overall health of the patient, cost of treatment and the needs of the household. Roughly 33% of hyperthyroid patients will have concurrent renal disease that will be revealed once the patient is treated for hyperthyroidism. Routine blood work is an important diagnostic tool for all aging pets. If you note any of the signs listed above in your pet then please seek veterinary care and a senior diagnostic work up.

Dr. Browning DVM West Coast Veterinary Center, 7910 SR 72, Sarasota FL 34241, 941-925-2262.


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