Hyperthyroidism – Overactive Thyroid Gland

Hyperthyroidism means an overactive thyroid gland and is very common in older cats, it is very rare for cats under the age of 8 to suffer from this condition. Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disorder that causes an increase in production of thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid gland which is situated in the neck.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Weight loss
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased hunger
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Panting

Can Hyperthyroidism be treated?

There are 3 treatment options if your cat is diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism, it will depend on your cat’s specific circumstances as to which treatment is most suitable.

Treatment 1 – Drug Therapy

Anti-thyroid drugs are not a cure for this disorder but help to manage it by stabilising the production of the thyroid hormone. The drugs are usually prescribed in tablet form and administered twice a day. As with any drug, they can cause some unwanted side effects which can include anorexia, vomiting and lethargy.

Treatment 2 – Surgical Thyroidectomy

Surgical thyroidectomy is the complete removal of the thyroid gland and provides a complete cure for the disorder. However, anaesthesia can be an issue where cats also have other diseases such as chronic renal failure or heart disease. To reduce the risks associated with anaesthesia, cats at risk,should be treated with anti-thyroid drugs for 3-4 weeks prior to surgery.

Treatment 3 – Radioactive Iodine Therapy

This therapy uses radioactive iodine which is injected under the skin and is concentrated within the thyroid gland. This treatment provides a cure without any side effects and does not require the use of anaesthetic. Unfortunately, this treatment is only available in specialist centres due to the safety issues surrounding radioactive products.