meet polly - a case of hyperthyroidism in cats
Polly is a 13 year old cat that was brought into our clinic after his Mum noticed him losing weight and his coat had become very dull and un-kept. After performing a blood test it was discovered that Polly had an abnormally high level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine which indicated that Polly had hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by an overproduction of hormones from the thyroid gland which is located in the neck. The thyroid hormones are responsible for the regulation of many processes within the body (such as metabolic rate), when there is too much of these hormones produced these processes in the body become unbalanced, causing the cat to become extremely unwell. If left untreated this can lead to heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, increased thirst, increased appetite, increased heart rate and a dull un-kept coat.
Luckily hyperthyroidism is very treatable and in some cases curable. Polly was reacting well to drug therapy and was a perfect contender for radioactive iodine therapy. Radioactive iodine therapy is a safe specialist treatment which in most cases is curative of hyperthyroidism and is administered by a single injection with no ongoing treatment.
The radioactive iodine is absorbed by the abnormal thyroid tissue destroying only this tissue without affecting any other tissues in the body with no significant side-effects. Polly received this specialist treatment at Animal Accident and Emergency in Point Cook and stayed in hospital for a short period while he was still radioactive.
Post-treatment Polly has been found to have normal thyroid function and no longer has hyperthyroidism. He is now maintaining a healthy weight and his coat is shiny again. Although he will be required to have occasional blood tests to monitor his thyroxide levels he otherwise requires no further treatment.
If you think your cat is showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism please visit our clinic to discuss this further with one of our vets.