If you are the owner of a sweet senior cat, then you probably are aware of hyperthyroidism, a very common endocrine condition in felines. With suitable management and treatment, cats with hyperthyroidism can continue healthy and happy lives. However, if the disorder is ignored it can be fatal.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a glandular condition that results from excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. The hormones are also called T3 and T4, and are a result of an overly active thyroid gland. This gland, which is within a cat's neck region. The disorder is especially common in geriatric cats, although it appears in felines of all age groups. Another name for the condition is thyrotoxicosis.
Some typical signs of feline hyperthyroidism are appetite boosts, weight loss, increased thirst, rapid heart rate, panting, irritability, frequent urination, diarrhea, anxiety, messy-looking coat, throwing up, exhaustion, weakness, breathing difficulties and depression. Upon noticing any one of these symptoms, seek veterinary attention for your little one as soon as possible.
With a suitable treatment plan, cats can survive -- and thrive -- in spite of hyperthyroidism. Common treatment routes for feline hyperthyroidism are antithyroid medicine, thyroid gland-extraction surgery (thyroidectomy), or radioactive iodine therapy. A veterinarian determines which option is most suitable depending on the cat's age, kidney and heart health, and other factors.
Hyperthyroidism can be extremely dangerous in cats if left untreated. When the condition isn't managed, it can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, heart disease and eventually death.
With hyperthyroidism, timeliness in treatment is of the essence. Regular veterinary checkups are vital for cats of all age, especially as they advance into their senior years. Don't slack off on your kitty's veterinary visits -- ever. Even if your cat is a sprightly, lively and young 3-year-old, remember that hyperthyroidism appears in all age groups.