Hyperthyroidism in Cats
Hyperthyroidism in cats (also known as Thyrotoxicosis) is a common disease mainly affecting middle-aged to older felines.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is when the two thyroid glands on either side of the windpipe in a cat's neck produce excessive amounts of the thyroid hormone Thyroxine, also known as T3 and T4.
What is the cause of Hyperthyroidism?
In most cases, it is caused by a non-cancerous tumour called an adenoma. However, in rare cases, it can be caused by a cancerous tumour called thyroid adenocarcinoma.
There is an increase in the number of cells within the thyroid gland. These benign growths group together to form nodules on the lobes of the gland, resulting in several nodules forming on each lobe. Up to 70% of cases affect both lobes.
These nodules result in increased amounts of the hormone thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) produced and released into the bloodstream, causing a metabolic increase. This increase affects most organs of the body.
It is most common in cats ten years and older, with only 5% developing this before age 8. There does not seem to be a breed or sexual preference. It is very rarely seen in dogs.
What happens to the body?
Too much thyroxine is released and affects all body systems by increasing the metabolic rate. It causes all tissues in the body to work harder and burn vital resources such as glucose, fats and protein. In addition, it breaks down muscle protein so it can be used as fuel.
With this increase in metabolic rate, the body's vitamin stores are depleted, leading to vitamin deficiencies. Cardiovascular and respiratory functions are also affected. A faster metabolism means oxygen gets used faster, increasing lung functions and blood flow to the heart, putting more pressure on the cardiovascular system. Increased blood flow means stronger muscle contractions which can lead to a thickening of the left ventricle in the heart and, over time, if left untreated, can cause heart failure.
It also increases digestive function, motility and secretions, which cause diarrhoea. The increased metabolism increases hunger, but the animal loses weight because the body burns things up so fast. The high hormone release stimulates the muscles to react more vigorously, evident in muscle tremors.
High blood pressure or Hypertension is another complication of Hyperthyroidism and can damage other body organs.
What are the signs and symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?
Your cat may not necessarily show all the symptoms below:
- excessive hunger, increase in appetite
- weight loss
- vomiting and or diarrhoea
- increased thirst and urination
- dull matted, greasy coat condition
- behavioural changes, nervous disposition, hyperactivity
- muscle tremors.
Natural remedies to help!
Our Tagiwig range has the remedy Hyper T, a homoeopathic blend designed to support your cat's immune response to Hyperthyroidism. In addition, Hyper T includes remedies that will assist the body in reducing thyroid production, support metabolic function, increase weight and help the nervous system, making it a great help with this debilitating disease.
Our Hyper T remedy is a fantastic product and helps around 95% of our cat clients with Hyperthyroid. But it is an over-the-counter product, where we have tried to design one product to fit all, but this always isn't the case. So for those few that don't see fantastic results, we offer consulting services, where we develop a one-on-one plan to help.
Posted: Thursday 1 December 2022