Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cats and thyroid troubles

A bit earlier, I wrote about the possibility of Lewis having thyroid troubles and perhaps that being an explanation of his incessant cries. The vet examined Lewis and said that he appeared healthy, and that hyperthyroidism appears with older cats and not a 3 year old like Lewis.

So what is hyperthyroidism? It’s actually the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder, usually occurring in cats that are 8 years or older. It’s unknown the exact cause, but some attribute hyperthyroidism to benign tumors in the thyroid gland and others blame environmental contaminants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are present in flame retardants in many household products.

What does hyperthyroidism look like in cats? These are some of the more noticeable symptoms:
  • rapid weight loss (most common sign)
  • increased appetite for food and water
  • Demanding food more frequently
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • hyperactivity (acting like a kitten)
  • unkempt appearance or hair loss
  • increased use of the litter box
Other serious symptoms are rapid heart rate, heart murmurs or high blood pressure and if left untreated result in heart failure and death.

There are three treatments for hyperthyroidism in cats. They are: anti-thyroid drugs for the rest of the cat’s life, surgery, and treatment with radioactive iodine. There are pros and cons for each of these, but they are usually successful and properly treated cats go on to lead normal and successful lives.

For further reference:
Hyperthyroidism in Cats

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