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Thyroid Problems in Cats: Symptoms to Recognize

shutterstock_428928622You may know someone who suffers from an overactive or underactive thyroid. Because of this, you already realize the difficulties and challenges that people with this condition face. Unfortunately, this problem is much more common in cats than it is in humans. Thyroid problems are faced by a large number of felines over the age of 10. Once a cat reaches the age of seven, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of thyroid irregularity. A cat can live for years with thyroid problems that can go unnoticed. This is because the symptoms may show themselves by only subtle variations in behavior. It is important to be on the lookout for signs early on so that the issue can be treated rapidly. The longer a thyroid problem continues, the harder it is to treat.

An overactive thyroid is the most common glandular disease among felines. It occurs when there is excessive concentration of the hormone thyroxine in the blood. One of the most notable early signs of hyperthyroidism is an increase in appetite paired with rapid weight loss. This can seem particularly unusual, because cats tend to put on more weights as they get older and become increasingly sedentary. Many pet owners may suspect worms or other parasites, but a blood test can confirm or negate those problems. Other symptoms may include an unkempt appearance, diarrhea, shedding, and vomiting. At the first sign of any or a combination of these symptoms, take your cat to the veterinarian for tests that can confirm or rule out an overactive thyroid. Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism can appear similar to other conditions, such as kidney failure.

If it is confirmed that your cat does indeed have hyperthyroidism, you may be able to treat it with an oral medication that can be taken for a few weeks. In 10 to 15 percent of cases, the cat will have side effects from the medication. Taking the medication over an extended period of time may also lead to liver problems. In cases where the medication is insufficient to deal with the severity of the thyroid problem, the issue can be corrected with surgery. The results of surgery are often successful, though the cat may take a while to fully cover. Among the safest procedures for correcting feline hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine therapy. This treatment can have dramatic results and is less invasive than surgery. But, this procedure is more complex and can be rather expensive.

As cats get older, they tend to become more listless and less active. They can also become vulnerable to feline health problems, such as hyperthyroidism that oftentimes go unnoticed at first. Stay tuned to any changes in your cats eating routines and make note of sudden changes in their weight. Rub you pet your with your fingers across his or her sides, and if your cat feels a bit bony or has ribs jutting out, you can establish that your cat is seriously underweight. If your cat is eating the same amount and seems to be getting thinner, or shows any other signs of a thyroid problem; such as vomiting, take your cat into the veterinarian for tests right away.

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