January is Thyroid Awareness Month. As it’s such a common disease in older cats, for today’s Feline Friday Post we’re raising awareness about hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid glands) and how you can spot typical signs your cat may be suffering from the condition.
Hyperthyroidism is caused by an increase in the production of thyroid hormones from one or both of the thyroid glands cats have in their neck. One of the functions of these hormones is help to control the body’s metabolic rate. Too much of this hormone causes the body to burn up energy too quickly, leading to weight loss (even though your cat may be eating more) and other typical symptoms such as a high heart rate and high blood pressure. If left untreated, the condition can ultimately lead to heart failure and other bodily complications and, sadly, can be fatal.
Signs of hyperthyroidism in cats can be subtle at first and become more pronounced as the condition progresses. Here are the classic symptoms to look out for:
Weight loss, an increased appetite, increased thirst and passing urine more often, increased activity and restlessness, more demanding behaviour, an untidy, unkempt coat and a fast heart beat. Some cats may suffer from sickness and diarrhoea and generalised weakness and lethargy rather than the typical hyperactivity.
If you notice your cat is displaying any of these symptoms above, please do get in touch. The great news is that hyperthyroidism can be successfully managed, and most cats will make a full recovery with treatment.