Understanding Feline Hyperthyroidism

As your cat gets older, it can become susceptible to diseases it may have been immune to as a kitten. Feline hyperthyroidism is one of these conditions. While the disease is not breed-specific, it usually affects cats between the ages of 10 to 13, but it can affect younger cats on rare occasions. If your cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, or if you think he or she may have this disease, you need to understand exactly how the disease works and what treatment options are available so that your cat can still live a happy life.

Diagnosing Hyperthyroidism

In order to successfully diagnose for hyperthyroidism, your veterinarian will need to run a blood test on your cat to check its T (thyroid) levels. If these levels are elevated significantly above the normal levels, then your vet will usually suspect hyperthyroidism right away. However, a few additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Classic Symptoms

While symptoms can vary greatly from one cat to another, there are certainly a few telltale signs of this disease including:

  • Increased metabolism (eating more than normal)
  • A dirty-looking coat (even if the cat is groomed every day)
  • Irritability (usually an underlying sign of pain)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • In some cases, hair loss (usually cased by the cat pulling out its own fur)

Of course, not every cat will exhibit all of these symptoms, but the increased metabolism, rapid heartbeat, and vomiting tend to be some of the most telling signs. At any rate, they are indicators that you should take your cat into the vet's office for a blood test right away.

Treatment Options

Once a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism has been confirmed in your cat, your veterinarian will present the different treatment options available Usually, there are three ways to treat a hyperthyroid cat: total removal of the thyroid gland, a strict thyroid-management medication regiment, or radioactive iodine treatments. Of course, the only way to determine which one of these treatments will be best for your cat is to assess the cat's overall health and its basic needs. Most cats have seen huge successes with radioactive iodine treatments, but this does not necessarily mean it is the best choice for all cats.

This Disease Cannot Go Untreated

If you suspect that your cat may have feline hyperthyroidism, it is important to make a trip to a vet like Canal Road Animal Hospital right away. This is because the disease can be fatal if it is left untreated for too long, since it takes its toll on other parts of your cat's body over time. Fortunately, if your cat is treated in time and if the disease is caught quickly enough, the condition can be managed or even potentially eliminated. Thus, it is possible that your cat could make a full recovery and bounce back to its normal self with the right treatment and amount of care.

Now that you have a better understanding of what feline hyperthyroidism is and how it can be treated, you should be able to detect the signs in your own furry friend if they manifest themselves. Likewise, if your cat does receive a positive hyperthyroidism diagnosis, you should be better-equipped to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian so that your kitty can get back on its feet in no time at all.