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    Hyperthyroidism In Cats

    Hyperthyroidism In Cats

    by Health / 3 min read


    Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ minutes

    Summary: In this blog, we learn all about hyperthyroidism in cats. We’ll find out what the signs of hyperthyroidism in cats are, what causes it, whether it’s painful and how to manage looking after a cat with hyperthyroidism…


    Hyperthyroidism In Cats

    Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid glands (located in the neck) develop abnormal tissue. This causes too much thyroid hormone to be produced and secreted, which rapidly increases the rate of bodily functions. This can be detrimental to a cat’s overall health and wellbeing. 

    The Signs Of Hyperthyroidism In Cats

    Because the thyroid is responsible for so many of the body’s routine functions, there can be several signs of hyperthyroidism in cats. These include:

    • Restlessness or an increase in activity, and this can include vocalizing
    • Urinating in unusual places
    • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
    • High heart rate
    • High blood pressure
    • Weight loss
    • An increase in thirst demonstrated by an increase in water drinking
    • An increase in appetite
    • Lackluster, greasy coat

    Hair loss is also a possible symptom of hyperthyroidism in cats.

    What Causes Hyperthyroidism In Cats?

    The underlying causes of hyperthyroidism are still unknown in cats, however, in rare cases, it is thought cancer can bring on hyperthyroidism. 

    Grey tabby cat laying down

    Is Hyperthyroidism In Cats Painful?

    If cats with hyperthyroidism are left undiagnosed and untreated, they can eventually begin to experience pain as the hyperthyroidism may go on to damage major organs like the kidneys and brain, and even the eyes resulting in blindness. This can also mean their quality of life is therefore reduced. If hyperthyroidism is left long enough, it can be fatal. 

    If you suspect hyperthyroidism in your cat, proper veterinarian diagnosis and their professional advice and prescribed treatment is vital. 

    Cats, like dogs, can be excellent at masking their pain which is why you should always have your cat looked over by a vet annually regardless of any health problem is obvious or not. 

    How To Treat Hyperthyroidism In Cats

    Hyperthyroidism in cats isn’t curable, and will be a case of life-long management. Your vet will need to properly diagnose hyperthyroidism and will do this after a physical examination combined with assessing their presenting symptoms. They will also require a blood test, and other tests may be needed to rule out other conditions. 

    If a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is confirmed, your vet will most likely prescribe a daily dose of anti-thyroid medication which can be administered to your cat via liquid or tablet form, normally two to three times a day. 

    Your vet will also most likely suggest controlling your kitty’s level of iodine in their body via their diet. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make the hormones it secretes. A special diet, set out by your vet (which usually entails cutting out things like fish), can help manage their iodine levels. But, it’s essential your cat eats nothing else but the prescribed diet… This is easier to control if you own an indoor-only cat but significantly harder if your feline ventures outdoors. 

    In some cases, a vet may want to remove the abnormal thyroid tissue altogether and will suggest performing this surgery which is known as a thyroidectomy. It can sometimes provide a long-term solution in cats but this is on a case-by-case basis as success will depend on if both thyroids need to be removed or just one, and what the opposing thyroid’s reaction to losing the other is which can vary. 

    Again depending on your cat’s case, your vet may alternatively suggest radioactive iodine therapy which is administered by injection and absorbed by the abnormal thyroid tissue. This destroys it without damaging the actual thyroid. However, this procedure is expensive and requires an extensive period of hospitalization for your cat (anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks).

    Tabby cat sleeping on white bed

    Hyperthyroidism In Cats Life Expectancy

    With proper, effective treatment, a cat’s life expectancy can be normal; as if they don’t have the condition. The earlier hyperthyroidism in cats is spotted, the better! 

    When To Euthanize A Cat With Hyperthyroidism

    A cat is able to lead a happy life with hyperthyroidism if it’s managed properly with the right medication given at the correct intervals, with regular veterinarian check-ups. If your cat isn’t insured though, this can put some owners in severe financial difficulty as vet and medication (and in some cases surgery) bills climb higher and higher…

    If you find yourself in this situation, talk frankly to your vet about what the best solution for your cat is. If you can’t afford regular medication because hyperthyroidism has caused another condition like kidney damage or blindness, then euthanizing your cat may be the kindest option. 

    This is why you should always insure your pets from the moment you bring them home. This will make sure your fur baby’s medical bills are covered, before any potential illnesses and long-term conditions (like hyperthyroidism in cats) arise.

    Related Read

    Diabetes In Cats


    "Hyperthyroidism In Cats" ASPCA Pet Insurance

    "Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid) In Cats" Blue Cross

    "Hyperthyroidism In Cats Is Surprisingly Common – Here's What You Should Know" The Dog People, Rover

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