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There are two types of thyroid problems that crop up in domestic animals, hyperthyroidism in cats and hypothyroidism in dogs. Thyroid problems in cats tend to involve hyperthyroidism, which is a condition where the animal's thyroid is producing too many hormones. On the other hand, dogs tend to get hypothyroidism, which is where their thyroids are not producing enough hormones.  It is a quite common feline affliction that tends to crop up in middle-aged and older cats that is getting easier for local veterinarians to diagnose because it is being seen more often.


The Thyroid


Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in CatsCredit: http://noseoffense.com/2011/10/14/hyperthyroidism-in-cats/

The thyroid is a small, albeit extremely important gland located in the animal's neck that produces two very important hormones, called T3 and T4. These hormones have effects throughout the body and are fundamental in several bodily functions including metabolism, cardiac function.


Thyroid hormones are known as T3 and R4. Very important wide-spread functions in the body including cardiac function. Chronic hyperthyroidism can cause enlargement and thickening of the heart and high blood pressure. These effects can sort themselves out after the primary disease (hyperthyroidism) is treated.


Causes Of Hyperthyroidism In Cats


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Feline hyperthyroidism in cats normally is a result of a tumor or hyperplasia of the thyroid.


Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism In Cats


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The most common symptoms involved with an overactive thyroid in cats are weight loss, increased appetite and hyperexcitability. This means that even though your cat is eating all the time and is running all over the place, he or she is losing weight. Because the hormones affect a lot of systems, there can be other symptoms associated including vomiting, increased defecation and diarrhoea.


Diagnosis Of Feline Hyperthyroidism


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The hormone levels are tested. The heart should also be evaluated to see what its condition is. Local veterinarians may order x-rays, echocardiography and or electrocardiography in order to evaluate your cat's condition. If you took your cat to an animal hospital or your local veterinarian refers you to an animal hospital, radionuclide imaging may be used which is where the neck region is imaged after the injection of a special dye that will make the thyroid, and any tumors, more visible.


Treating Feline Hyperthyroidism

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Treatment is targeted at the overactive thyroid in cats. The thyroid needs to be removed or destroyed. There are three main ways that this is done: with drugs, surgery or radioactive iodine.


Propylthiouracil and methimazole are the two main drugs used in treating hyperthyroidism in cats. They block the synthesis of the hormones but do not have any affect on a tumor, if one is present. They are often used to stabilize the cat for surgical removal of the thyroid. There are a number of side effects that should be considered. Ask the veterinarian for more information or you can try to get online vet advice or ask a vet for free over the internet if you are interested in some general information.


The most common form of treatment is the surgical removal of the thyroid.


Radioactive iodine is a special iodine that is injected into the cat that targets thyroid tumors specifically, even if the tumor has metastasized or spread to other organs. There are no side effects associated with its use. The major disadvantage is that normally the cat will have to stay at the vet's for several weeks after treatment.


Final Thoughts


After treatment, the cat's hormone levels usually return to normal within a few weeks and the symptoms usually disappear. Even heart and blood pressure can return to normal as long as the condition didn't go on for too long and has not caused permanent damage. What is important to know is that hyperthyroidism in cats is curable.