Hyperthyroidism is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions of aging cats. It can be detected as early as 7 years of age or earlier. New research is emerging every day, but cats at the highest risk are indoor cats that eat a wet food diet. This is unfortunate research and we would be happy to discuss in more detail why this may be the case.
The good news is that hyperthyroidism is a completely controllable disease. There are several options for treatment.
In our experience, oral medication to lower the systemic thyroid hormone level has been the most common treatment modality. Typically, a cat is dosed once daily, but in some cases, the medication is given twice daily. Medication can be given orally in tablet or liquid form. In a cat that cannot take oral medication, a formulation that is rubbed onto the inner hairless portion of the ear is an option. So, with some creativity, medicating your cat can happen.
Another option, especially for indoor solitary cats, is feeding a prescription diet called Hills y/d. This food works by limiting the iodine in the food that is needed to make thyroid hormone. No other diet on the market can achieve this and it is VERY important that your cat not get any other source of nutrition, including some medications. It is best to discuss with your vet if your cat is a good candidate for this approach.
A third option is radioactive iodine therapy. This can be a great method to cure your cat of thyroid disease. It has moreup front cost associated but most of the time avoidslife long therapy. It is performed at a local specialty clinic. We can discuss this process more in depth if this is something you are interested in.
The last option is surgical removal of the thyroid gland. This too offers a cure, but does carry more complications. We would be happy to discuss this approach if this is a consideration.
No matter what treatment you decide upon, blood monitoring and consistency are crucially important. It is important that a cats thyroid level is controlled so that their clinical signs diminish but ALSO that we do not make their thyroid function too low, creating a condition called hypothyroidism. It has been discovered that low thyroid function in an aging cat is extremely detrimental to kidney function. Since kidney function loss is also a very common medical condition of cats, it is very important to us that we do everything we can to support optimal kidney function.
If you have more questions about the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or its treatments, please make an appointment with us.