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Hyperthyroidism is an older cat disease where the thyroid glands produce too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is responsible for metabolism; therefore, a hyperthyroid cat has a very fast metabolism and burns a lot of calories. Hyperthyroid cats eat a lot and still lose weight. Every organ in the body runs faster, which can lead to kidney, liver or heart failure if left untreated.
Hyperthyroidism can be controlled with daily medication, treated with surgery or radioactive iodine treatments. Your veterinarian can discuss the different treatment options with you to find which would be right for your cat.
One month after starting medicine, a complete blood count, thyroid level and kidney values and blood pressure are recommended. The thyroid level is needed to allow us to monitor response to the thyroid medication and determine if a change in dose is needed. The complete blood count allows us to monitor for side effects to the medication. A small number of cats will experience a reaction to the medication which causes the bone marrow to stop making new blood cells. This is a life threatening reaction and your cat will be taken off the medication. The kidney values are checked because treating the thyroid condition can unmask kidney failure. Having an overactive thyroid can hide early kidney failure. When we start to treat the thyroid, the kidney problem is unmasked. We will check your cats blood pressure if your cat will allow it. Hyperthyroid cats are prone to high blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and blindness. High blood pressure usually returns to normal when the thyroid level returns to normal; however, some cats may need to take blood pressure medication.
Three months later, the same tests should be rechecked to monitor your cats response to the treatment.
We recommend a recheck exam, thyroid level, mini-chemistry panel and blood pressure every 6 months and a full senior profile yearly.
By monitoring thyroid level, body organ function and blood pressure, we are able to extend your cats life. Most hyperthyroid cats live a normal life span. If you cannot or do not wish to follow the recommendations, please discuss alternatives with your veterinarian. We must see your cat at least once yearly in order to legally dispense medications.