When people talk about cat thyroid medicine, chances are they mean medicine for hyperthyroidism. While there are two different conditions related to the thyroid gland -- hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism -- cats, by an overwhelming margin, tend to suffer from hyperthyroidism (the overproduction of thyroid hormones) whereas dogs more often suffer from hypothyroidism (the underproduction of thyroid hormones). If you suspect that your cat is battling hyperthyroidism, here is what you need to do.
What to Do if Your Cat Has Hyperthyroidism
1. Go to the Vet
If you suspect your cat has hyperthyroidism, the first thing you should do is take them to the vet. If you start to notice that your cat is suffering from any of the following conditions, it may be time to get them to the vet.
2. Get Your Medication
The most commonly prescribed hyperthyroidism medication is methimazole. An antithyroid type drug, methimazole is used to treat hyperthyroidism by inhibiting the thyroperoxidase enzyme, diminishing the gland's ability to synthesize thyroid hormones. So, basically, your cat's thyroid gland will still be working overtime, but their thyroxine hormone output is going to be the same as a cat without hyperthyroidism, thereby managing their condition effectively.
It may also be possible to treat your cat's hyperthyroidism with surgery -- either surgically removing the glad or destroying the gland radioactively. These methods can be curative, meaning your cat won't need to be on daily medications.
3. Give Them the Medication
If your cat needs medication, you'll have to make it part of your daily routine. Methimazole comes in two doses: 5mg and 10mg tablets. Typically, your cat is going to be started on the low end (5mg). The treatment is typically given twice a day, at evenly spaced intervals. If no, or limited, effect is noticed, take them back to the vet so they can sign off on an increased dosage.
4. Look for Side Effects
Like many other medications, while it is incredibly effective in doing its job, it does, in some cases, result in some side effects (which are generally far more tolerable than the disease itself). For methimazole, those side effects (while rare) include:
If you notice that your cat is experiencing any of the aforementioned conditions after starting their hyperthyroidism treatment, take them to the vet, as an adjustment to their dosage may need to be made.
Dealing with a chronic condition is never easy, even for your cat. If your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism, the cost of their medication might not be something you had thought of when you brought them into your home, but it is not something that can simply be ignored. To help deal with the mounting cost of your cat’s medications, our health benefits plan, PetPlus, can help by taking a substantial bite out of the overall cost of said medication(s). For parents of pets who are going to require a continued treatment, PetPlus can save you 75% off your cat's medication.
More on Cat Thyroid Problems
Treating Hyperthyroidism in Cats
5 Facts on Hyperthyroidism in Cats
Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Cats
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.