Hyperthyroidism In Cats: Promising Treatments For Cat Owners

April 23, 2024

A Life-changing Look at Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common metabolic disorders in older cats. Let’s demystify the condition and better understand how hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated.

Early intervention is key. By staying informed, you can keep your cats happy and healthy! So, what exactly is hyperthyroidism in cats? What are early warning signs should you watch for, and what options are available for treatment?

The thyroid, a gland located in the throat, produces a hormone that regulates your cat’s metabolism. When the thyroid overreacts, it releases too much hormone. This can create a metabolic imbalance, known as hyperthyroidism. This condition is usually caused by a benign growth on the thyroid and is most common in cats over 8-years-old.

Early Detection of Feline Hyperthyroidism: Unmistakable Signs and Symptoms

How can you tell if your cat is developing hyperthyroidism? The most significant sign is weight loss despite a healthy appetite. Other tell-tale symptoms include:

  • increased thirst and urination
  • hyperactivity
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

If your older cat is showing any combination of these symptoms, hyperthyroidism may be the underlying cause – it’s time to talk to your vet.

symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats

Confirming your Suspicions: A Deeper Look at the Diagnosis

Diagnosing hyperthyroidism is relatively straightforward. Discuss your observations and concerns with your veterinarian. He or she will likely examine your cat and recommend a simple blood test to check thyroid hormone levels (T4 and T3). Results will typically confirm the diagnosis and allow you to initiate treatment quickly. In some cases, however, a follow-up thyroid scan or ultrasound may be needed.

Effective and Promising Treatment Options for Feline Hyperthyroidism

If your cat has been diagnosed with Feline Hyperthyroidism, it can feel overwhelming and even scary at first. It’s important to remember, with treatment, the prognosis for most cats is generally positive.

Common first-line treatment often involves twice-daily medication, specifically Methimazole, which regulates hormone production levels. This is the same medication used to treat hyperthyroidism in humans. It offers a long-term solution, although it may have some side-effects.

If medications aren’t cutting it or if you’re looking for a permanent solution, radiation treatment is another widely used and highly effective option. Treatment involves a single injection of radioactive iodine (I-131), which specifically targets the overreacting thyroid cells and stops the overproduction of hormones. Healthy, normal tissue is not affected. Cats typically spend a few days in the veterinary hospital. This allows for monitoring and safe handling until radioactivity levels have dispersed.

According to specialty clinic, RadCats in Carrboro, “Iodine 131 therapy is a safe and effective method to quickly and permanently decrease abnormally high thyroid levels. More than 94% of cats given a single dose of iodine 131 will return to normal thyroid function within three months of treatment.”

The topic of Hyperthyroidism is very close to our hearts. Our sweet Miss Coco has been diagnosed with the condition and is preparing to undergo radiation treatment. Stay tuned for updates and follow along with our experience!