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Cats can be mysterious creatures at times. This is evident in the myriad ways that they are able hide disease from us. Being prey animals, cats are often able to compensate for significant internal disease, only showing signs once things reach a critical point. This characteristic makes routine physical examination and discussion of how your kitty has been doing at home an imperative. Further, screening for systemic disease is also a must.
Hyperthyroidism is a common disease of middle aged to older cats, and can look like just about anything. Common signs include weight and muscle loss despite an excellent appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, skin and coat changes, increased thirst, and a number of other non-specific and vague signs.
Hyperthyroidism is caused by a benign growth in the thyroid gland that is over-producing T4. It is important to realize that these tumors are almost always benign and represent a form of goiter rather than a form of cancer. Less than 3 - 5 % of hyperthyroid cats have a cancerous thyroid growth. Left unchecked hyperthyroidism causes significant damage to cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and hepatic systems among others
Blood panel surveys hepatic, renal, hematologic, and other body systems. Although there are multiple changes that fit hyperthyroidism, mild increases in liver enzymes are most commonly observed, the elevated T4 level forms the basis for diagnosis. Although there are several treatment modalities, most cats do well on anti-thyroid medication. If your pet is experiencing any of these signs or has already been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, please contact our staff today to arrange an appointment.