Thyroid disease

“My cat seems to have lost weight, but he is still so hungry. Is he just getting old?"

An older cat who is losing weight but still hungry is a presentation that Vets see regularly. The cause is usually hyperthyroidism, and a routine blood test can usually confirms this diagnosis.

Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overproduction of thyroid hormone. The excess thyroid hormone upsets the regulation of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as the function of the heart. If untreated, it can lead to damage of the heart and kidneys, leaving your cat seriously unwell!

The main signs of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Weight loss
  • Normal or increased appetite - some cats are ravenous
  • Poor coat quality or appearance of an unkempt coat
  • Increased vocalisation and hyperactivity
  • Vomiting Increased thirst and urination

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism depend on how well the kidneys and the heart are functioning. In most cases, it involves life-long daily medication and regular blood, urine and blood-pressure tests. Your Vet can even arrange a compounded medication that you can apply to your cat’s ears (a transdermal medication) to reduce the stress of having to medicate your cat orally.

If you are worried about your cat or think they may be showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism, seeing your Vet for an early diagnosis makes a big difference. It is essential that other diseases are ruled out, such as primary kidney disease or diabetes.