March 30, 2010

What is Cat Hyperthyroidism?

A common cat health condition, hyperthyroidism is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid. The thyroid gland is found in your cat’s neck and is usually responsible for maintaining a healthy metabolism. With an increased production of the hormone thyroid, your cat’s metabolism speeds up and many internal organs are affected. While hyperthyroidism is a fairly common condition in older cats, it should not be left untreated. Cat hyperthyroidism is frequently associated with high blood pressure because the increased metabolism causes the heart to pump faster and harder.

There are various symptoms that you can look out for if you suspect your cat may be suffering from hyperthyroidism. Most affected cats are at least 12 years of age or older and cats with hyperthyroidism tend to lose weight because of their increased metabolism. In many cases, cats with hyperthyroidism will have an increased appetite as they’re trying to make up for the calories being burned by their accelerated metabolic rate. Weight loss may be rapid or gradual so it’s not always obvious that your cat may be suffering from a condition like hyperthyroidism. Other signs of cat hyperthyroidism include excessive drinking and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia.

Some serious complications are associated with cat hyperthyroidism, namely hypertension and thyrotoxic cardiomyopathy. Because of the excess pressure put on the heart by increased metabolism, serious heart conditions are a major risk which is why you should always seek treatment from a veterinarian. In most cases, your veterinarian will try to control the amount of thyroid hormone being released by the thyroid gland. This usually involves either drug therapy, surgery, radioactive iodine treatment or some combination of the three.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.