Is your favorite feline friend getting old, skinny and grumpy? While this may appear to be “normal aging”, you may want to visit your veterinarian to have your cat’s thyroid function evaluated.
Hyperthyroidism is a common disorder affecting older cats. The average age at diagnosis is 13 years. Fortunately, malignancies of the thyroid gland are rare. In most cases of feline hyperthyroidism the thyroid gland is benignly enlarged, similar to goiter in people. The resulting symptoms are due to the excessive production of thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid hormones, also called T3 and T4, are important in the maintenance of skin and haircoat and basal metabolic rate. Overproduction of these hormones results in an increase in the metabolic rate and an increase in the heart rate. This eventually leads to disabling weight loss, cardiac disease and high blood pressure.