Thyroid Problems in Cats
Cats and Humans share a number of different diseases and conditions. One of these which can be fatal without treatment involves problems with the Thyroid gland.
The Thyroid Gland
This small gland located in the neck in both Cats and Humans controls the production of hormones which regulate metabolic rate, heart, muscle control and brain development plus a whole host of other things. It's fair to say correct function of the Thyroid gland is pretty important to health of both your cat and to you!
The Thyroid gland depends on a sufficient supply of Iodine from diet in order to function correctly and in fact one of the hormones created by the Thyroid gland is a complex structures derived from Iodine. This means correct diet is key to keeping the thyroid under control, but unfortunately in both cats and Humans correct Thyroid function can fail, leading to all sorts of issues.
An over-active Thyroid or 'hyperthyroidism' is a condition where too many hormones are produced. This leads to excessive weight loss even when constantly eating. There are possible treatments for over-active thyroid for cats, unfortunately these can have severe side effects including the promotion of heart issues and strokes. If properly monitored and administered, medication can prolong the life of your pet cat, however treatment isn't cheap - expect to pay several hundred pounds per year for medication and the same again for repeat vet visits.
Other treatments for Hyperthyroidism include giving your cat radioactive Iodine, which lodges in the Thyroid gland and selectively kills off thyroid cells, bringing the condition under control. This treatment can of course have side effects including the promotion of cancerous growths. The presence of radioactive substances of course must be handled correctly so as not to affect any other animals or humans. Kitty litter becomes much more hazardous for all those who come into contact with it!
This condition is the opposite of an over-active thyroid and results in excessive weight gain and other issues related to the lack of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can lead to very sluggish behaviour from your Cat, with excessive weight gain and problems throughout the body including brain, heart, bowels and kidneys.
Thyroid hormone replacement therapy can help your Cat to live a relatively normal life, but this has to be properly regulated and just like treatments for Hyperthyroidism can be expensive.
Living with a Hyperthyroid Cat
For those who have lived with cat which has Hyperthyroid condition, you will know that not only do expenses mount up but also your entire daily routine revolve around medication.
It can be pretty impossible to get your pet cat to swallow medication most of the time, so think creatively when getting your moggy to eat his tablets!
Meat and fish paste can work very well - roll up small balls of paste and put a tablet in each of these, you will probably find your cat will like these treats and swallow immediately, but experiment with the best delivery method and of course don't give your cat any more food until the medication has been given.