Published on January 31st, 2014 | by Debbie Martin0
Hyperthyroidism in Cats – Important Info to Be Aware Of
Hyperthyroidism is a common problem in cats, so if you are the guardian of a feline friend it is important to know about this disease. Both male and female cats are affected by this issue and it can cause a significant impact on the health of your cat. So what exactly is hyperthyroidism and what should you be looking out for?
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is divided into two different lobes, one which is located on either side of the windpipe within your cat’s neck. This gland produces the thyroid hormone and if it is functioning normally it cannot be felt.
What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?
This gland produces a hormone that is essential for the growth of the brain and skeleton within young animals. Also, in adult cats it has a number of functions. It is involved in the control of metabolism and it helps to moderate the breakdown of fatty tissues. Also, it affects the heart rate and is involved in the production of red blood cells.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
When your cat is experiencing hyperthyroidism, this means that the thyroid gland is secreting very high levels of thyroid hormones. This is caused by tumours in the gland or abnormal changes. These types of abnormalities are most of the time benign and if they are spotted early they can be treated with success. It is only a small percentage of hyperthyroidism cases in cats that are too complicated to treat and will have a poor long-term prognosis.
What is the Cause of Hyperthyroidism in Cats?
Unfortunately, at the moment scientists are not sure of the cause of the abnormal changes in the thyroid tissue of cats which leads to hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
This disease takes a long time to develop and its symptoms become more obvious over time. This means that it might be difficult to recognise the signs in the beginning and that these symptoms can sometimes be attributed to the normal signs of aging. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include a gradual deterioration in body condition and coat, increased appetite and high levels of activity. Your cat will experience an increased appetite and thirst, because the disease is affecting its metabolism. Other symptoms to watch out for include breathing difficulties, weakness, rapid heart rate, nervousness and a lump in the neck. However, not every cat with the disease will have the same symptoms.