Hyperthyroidism is a disease of older cats, caused by excessive production of thyroid hormones. The usual cause for increased hormone production is a tumor of the thyroid gland. These tumors may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The reason these glands develop tumors is not known.

Hyperthyroidism is a major cause of heart disease (cardiomyopathy), high blood pressure and kidney disease in cats.

Look for some of these signs:

  1. Weight loss despite a ravenous appetite
  2. Frequent bowel movements
  3. Increased thirst and urination
  4. Restlessness
  5. Frequent crying or vocalizing
  6. Neglect of normal grooming
  7. Rapid heartbeat

If you notice any of these signs, talk to your veterinarian and consider a senior health care work-up to completely evaluate your pet’s health.

What is the treatment for hyperthyroidism?

Treatment with radioactive iodine is the best treatment for hyperthyroidism in cats. This treatment requires a nuclear medicine facility and isolation of the cat during treatment. One such facility is located in Springfield Virginia.

When serious heart disease, kidney disease, or hypertension has already occurred, treatment with anti-thyroid drugs is used.  However, long-term medical treatment with these drugs is more difficult to maintain than with the Radioactive Iodine treatment. Nevertheless, in certain older cats, for economic reasons and/or cats that are poor candidates for Radioactive Iodine, long-term drug therapy may be the best treatment.


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