Hyperthyroidism is the most common metabolic disorder in middle-aged cats (> 8 years old).
What is Hyperthyroidism and what causes it?
It is the over production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid glands. In most cases it is usually due to a benign overgrowth of the glands. However, malignant tumours have been reported to be the cause.
The exact cause of hyperthyroidism in cats is still unknown but multiple factors that could play a role have been identified, such as genetics, age, and increased utilisation of commercial cat food.
What symptoms should I look out for?
Hyperthyroid cats can present with many signs as thyroid hormone affects various body systems. The classic signs include weight loss, overeating, over drinking or increased thirst, increased vocalisation, agitation/aggression, increased activity, vomiting, diarrhoea and unkempt hair coat.
How is it treated?
A range of treatment options are currently available including radioactive iodine therapy, anti-thyroid medication, surgical removal of thyroid glands and dietary therapy.