Cats between the ages of 8 and 13 are in the age range most commonly associated with the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, which is the most common cause of hormone imbalance in cats. With that in mind, it is crucial to the future health of your cat, that you can identify the signs and take your cat in for testing before serious damage is done. These five facts may help you understand hyperthyroidism and how to proceed.
1. Can Hyperthyroidism in Cats be Cured?
Yes. If the thyroid is successfully removed, or the radioactive iodine therapy is successful, hyperthyroidism can be cured. Medication, however, does not cure, and requires lifelong treatment. When determining a course of action, it is important to keep in mind that there are risks to every option, and no guarantees.
2. Is Hyperthyroidism Preventable?
No. While some researchers believe that there are chemical causes which can be avoided, there is no real way to prevent hyperthyroidism. It is similar to trying to prevent cancer, just do the best you can in regards to keeping your cat healthy, by maintaining a balanced diet and frequent checkups to the vet, especially as they get older.
3. It Does Not Always Mean Cancer
Tumors on the thyroid, which cause hyperthyroidism, are rarely cancerous. Often when a cat has a visible mass on the thyroid, the immediate fear is cancer. And while cancer is a possibility in the cases of adenocarcinomas, the tumors are usually benign and do not spread.
4. Pay Attention to the Signs
Because hyperthyroidism can progressively do some serious damage to organ function, getting your cat tested is crucial. If you see any behavior that is unlike previous typical behavior, take note and make sure you tell your vet. The symptoms are what lead the veterinarian to perform tests, so accurately identifying them may speed up the process of figuring out what is wrong. If you notice a change such as hyperactivity, when previously the cat was consistently laid back, let your vet know.
5. The Thyroid Determines Metabolic Rate
Good thyroid health is important to the overall health of your cat, because it determines at what rate calories are metabolized into energy. This affects every cell in the body, and how they perform. While having a high metabolism may seem like a positive thing, especially to humans, hyperthyroidism is destructive to organ function.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.