Feline Hyperthyroidism

As our feline family members age and become seniors, we often start to see changes in their behaviours or habits. Any changes in drinking water, urination, weight loss, or changes in appetite could indicate underlying medical conditions and should be brought to your veterinarian’s attention.

One of the more common conditions I see in our senior feline population is a condition called Feline Hyperthyroidism. It is a condition where the thyroid gland releases excessive thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. It causes increased heart rate and has a toxic effect on the heart.

Symptoms owners may see at home include — increased appetite (even ravenous), weight loss despite eating more, increased urination, increased drinking water, and sometimes a senior cat may start acting like a kitten again.

Feline hyperthyroidism is often diagnosed with a blood test. Once it has been diagnosed, our pets can be treated with various options including — medications given by mouth, special medical diet, or even radioiodine treatment. Discussing treatment options with your veterinarian can help you find the best option for your pet.

Once treatment has been started, repeat blood tests should be performed approximately one month after treatment has started to see if there need to be any dosage changes. Many cats with hyperthyroidism have concurrent kidney disease, and both conditions need to be managed carefully.

Most cats with hyperthyroidism have a very good prognosis if we are able to help regulate the thyroid hormone.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 519.453.2940.

Written by: Dr. Sarah Wells, DVM