Hyperthyroidism in cats

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Cats have two thyroid glands, which are located in the neck and play a vital role in regulating the body’s metabolic rate. Hyperthyroidism is caused by the overproduction of thyroid hormone and leads to an increased metabolic rate. The more thyroid hormone produced, the higher the metabolic rate and the more calories your cat burns.Hyperthyroidism is a progressive disease. It has a slow, subtle onset and the gradual deterioration in coat and body condition can also be wrongly attributed to the “normal signs” of aging.

Common Signs Include:
An increased appetite and thirst
Weight lossHyperactivity
Breathing difficulties
Rapid heart rate
A swelling in the throat area
Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
It is important to note that not all of these signs will occur in every cat with hyperthyroidism. 

Laboratory testing: 
To confirm the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, and rule out other diseases, your veterinarian will take a blood sample to test the level of thyroid hormone.If levels are low, sometimes we can still not rule out the disease for a number of reasons;
Your cat may be at a very early stage of the disease, and
Thyroid hormone levels can fluctuate and can even be normal at some point in hyperthyroid cats.Other diseases can influence thyroid hormone levels.
Therefore, your veterinarian may need to repeat the blood tests after a week or so.

Hyperthyroidism is usually manageable and there is a good chance that your cat will return to normal. It is very important that cats diagnosed with hyperthyroidism are treated as soon as possible. The longer a cat is left untreated the more detrimental the effects of the excessive thyroid hormones. 
The most common treatments options are:
Medical treatment
Drugs that block the manufacture of the thyroid hormones. The options for this include a daily tableting or the application of a gel on to the cat’s ear.
Radioactive Iodine
Radioactive iodine treatment is considered the best treatment option for long-term control of hyperthyroidism removing all remnants of excess thyroid tissue.  It is curative in 95% of cats.
Iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones. Therefore, diets specially formulated for cats with hyperthyroidism aim to restrict dietary iodine to reduce thyroid gland function. Cats must be fed exclusively their special diet and no other treats. Dietary management is often the least effective management technique with approximately 25% of animals not eating this diet.

Your veterinarian will discuss your pet’s treatment plan with you and together you can decide on the best option for your cat.
Here is one of our patients just three weeks after starting treatment using the medicated ear gel. He has gained 600grams and his coat and racing heartbeat have improved.
His owners are delighted to see him so healthy and happy, and so are we.

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