Nursing the feline hyperthyroid patient

Michele Donovan
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrinopathy in middle aged to older cats. Dogs and cats are affected very differently by this disease. This article will focus on feline hyperthyroidism.The disorder is characterised by excess production and circulation of active thyroid hormones in almost all cats. These hormones induce a hypermetabolic state, with clinical signs such as weight loss despite increased appetite, and muscle wasting. Other common signs include palpable thyroid gland, diarrhoea, vomiting, tachycardia, hyperthermia, restlessness, and behavioural changes.Thyroxine (total T4 (TT4) ) is the hormone test used to diagnose feline hyperthyroidism. However, since a high metabolic rate can mask other diseases a range of diagnostic tests are necessary for a thorough assessment of the patient.The recommended treatment approach is to first establish euthyroidism by the use of oral anti-thyroid drugs, such as methimazole. Surgery or radioiodine therapy can be considered for definitive, long-term control if renal function remains adequate following re-establishment of euthyroidism.

Nursing the feline hyperthyroid patient
Nursing the feline hyperthyroid patient

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