Hypothyroidism In Cats - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
What is Hypothyroidism?
Last year my cat, Tumble, became very ill and I suspected the worst. He became extremely thin, very fast but was eating and asking for food all the time! In a matter of weeks, his coat had lost it's once glossy sheen and was looking a bit worse we took him straight to the vets to rule out cancer (he is 7 years old, so isn't an old cat, but isn't exactly young anymore either). The vet did a quick check of Tumble's body condition, asked a few questions and took some blood for a blood test.
A while later, the vet told us that the results indicated hypothyroidism, which is a common problem in pet cats that is not fully understood, but can have a detrimental impact on vital organs such as the heart and liver, and also affects the cat's nervous system. The constant hunger and rapid decline of Tumble's body condition were two of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
The Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
When reading through these symptoms, it is important to remember that very few cats develop or show all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and there may even be other symptoms that are not on this list as relatively little is known about this condition.
1.) Increase in appetite and constant hunger
2.) A rapid decline in the condition of the fur, which often becomes dull and tatty
3.) Fast weight loss
4.) Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
6.) Fast heart rate
8.) Increased thirst and urination
9.) A temperature
10.) Panting or difficulty breathing
11.) Lumps around the neck area
Out of the above eleven symptoms, Tumble only showed three, so if you suspect that your cat is suffering from hypothyroidism, please do not delay in going to the vet, as other symptoms may not appear for a long time.
Radio-Iodine treatment is usually the preferred method for cats with this condition. It can be quite expensive, depending on the vet and frequency of the treatment, but it is painless for the cat and results will show pretty soon once the treatment is under way. However, the downside is that your cat will have to stay in the veterinary clinic for up to two weeks whilst treatment is being received.