Is your cat at risk of hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a disease that generally affects older cats and involves abnormal growth of one or both thyroid glands causing excess production of thyroid hormones. You can see the difference in gland size in the photo between a normal and a significantly bigger affected thyroid gland.
The excess thyroid hormones create a strain on the body as they cause metabolism to speed up which in turn leads to an increase in appetite, although the sufferer will continue to lose weight. In addition, heart rate speeds up and blood pressure rises. Some cats may also suffer from sickness and diarrhoea.
Treatment may involve medication or removal of one or both thyroid glands, whilst radioactive iodine therapy may be offered at specialist centres. Left untreated, cats with the condition will keep losing weight, grow progressively weaker and become prone to the onset of other serious health issues like kidney and heart disease.
If your cat is over 10 years old, then please do look out for the disease. If you notice your feline friend is eating well but is losing weight, this is a strong indicator that something is wrong, so be sure to book your cat in for a check up with a vet.