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Vet Talk – Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Posted 2019-06-05

hillary-cook

Through years of experience, I have found that when a senior cat comes into my veterinarian practice it is usually due to hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, or diabetes. These diseases are so prevalent in older cats that I always rule these out first. In today’s vet talk, I’ll be focusing on hyperthyroidism in cats—symptoms to look out for, diagnostic tests, supplements, and treatments.

Hyperthyroidism is commonly diagnosed in older kitties. It causes an over production of the thyroid hormone causing a multitude of problems. The thyroid hormone regulates the basic metabolic rate. Too much of it is like drinking too much coffee—it speeds up every reaction in the body. Hyperthyroidism in cats is typically the result of a benign thyroid tumor. Since cells are normal, they continue to produce the thyroid hormones, resulting in a high level of those hormones in the blood.

The most common signs of hyperthyroidism in cats include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss in spite of excessive eating
  • Anxiety or hyper behavior
  • Howling at night
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Elevated liver enzymes

Not all cats will have these symptoms. In fact about 20% of cats will be sluggish and depressed instead of hyperactive with decreased appetite. Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to heart problems and a decreased immune system.

Diagnosing hyperthyroidism requires a complete blood work check including T4 testing. I recommend blood testing and senior exams every six months in any cat over the age of eight. Chronic kidney disease can be a complicating factor in treating hyperthyroidism, so complete blood work is necessary to diagnose, and treat in the most effective way.

There are several presumptive and investigated reasons older cats develop hyperthyroidism, including diet and environmental causes. Canned food with BPA (found in the linings of cans) and excessive iodine in food has been targeted for possible nutritional reasons for hyperthyroidism. Environmental reasons include chemicals emitted by carpets, sofas, chairs, mattresses and tv’s and computers called PBDE’s, all of which are a large part of an indoor cat’s life. However, hyperthyroidism is also found in outdoor cats eating dry food. This ads to theories that there is a genetic disposition to hyperthyroidism as well.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism is multifactorial. Immune support, heart support and endocrine support is targeted. Western medications include methimazole and sometimes heart medication to slow the heart down. Radioactive iodine therapy is another treatment available that completely ablates the thyroid gland and no longer makes it necessary to treat an overactive gland.

NHV offers natural supplements that may help to support the thyroid function and cardiovascular function of you cat. These complimentary products can be used in conjunction with western medications. These are:

NHV Resthyro, which contains herbs like bugleweed and lemon balm, that help inhibit thyroid-stimulating hormones, while a balance within the body is maintained using herbs like eluethero.

NHV Turmeric, which is a superherb and helps with liver function and heart and circulatory function. NHV Turmeric contains black pepper, which increases the bioavailability of turmeric.

NHV Hearty Heart may help with overall heart function and blood pressure, which contain herbs like motherwort and hops that help to strengthen a weakened heart.

If chronic kidney disease is a complicating factor in your cat’s hyperthyroidism, you may want to try NHV Tripsy. NHV Tripsy contains herbs like stone root, parsley piert, and gravel root which help support and strengthen the kidneys.

If your cat has hyperthyroidism and you would like a second, holistic veterinary opinion, please book a consultation with me through NHV.



Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

6 replies.

  1. Katy McEwan says:

    how is this product administered liquid is difficult and cream he has a bad reaction to it

    1. Raphael M says:

      Hi Kathy,

      We completely understand that sometimes it’s hard to give our furkiddos the supplements, but that are many ways to do so.
      These ones on the blog are liquid form, but you can add them to your furkid’s food or treats. Or you can try giving them directly on the mouth. Whichever way is easier for you.

      Let us know if you need any help!

      Yours in wellness,
      NHV Team

  2. barbara wood says:

    thanks for this info.
    i just ordered the resthyroid formula. i would like to feed her more canned food daily to fatten her up. what should i look for in older cat food : ingredients and or brand.
    thanks.
    barbara

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Our pet experts recommend feeding your cat a high-quality adult cat food. The brands that our experts recommend are: Now, Hound & Gatos, Koha as they are all reputable brands with good ingredients and no recalls. It would be great if you could check in with us in a couple of weeks after starting the Resthyro, in case we need to adjust her dosages. Is your kitty on any medication currently? If she is, please do not stop the medication, but use they Resthyro as additional support. Also, it’s a good idea to space out the supplements and medication by a couple of hours.

      If you have any more questions about your pet and their health, we’re always here to help!

      Yours in wellness,
      Team NHV

  3. Hannah Eslsh says:

    I would like to book a consultation with you.my cat is 17, he has hyperthyroid, his blood panel Thyroid reading is at a 6 up from 4.5. He has serious periodontal disease and when they clean and extract some of his teeth an roots they will biopsy some of his soft tissue. I tried regulating his thyroid with prescription food but it’s not working, though he seemed much better and gained 3/4 of a lb in a couple of weeks. I am worried about the side effects of the methimazole and think herbal medice might be the way to go but the mouth procedure is complicated and the vets are trained allopathically and I don’t want to further complicate an already complicated procedure. The thyroid has already effected his heart as he now has a heart murmur. Both conditions will further complicate the anesthesia which for a cat his age is already dicey. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Team NHV says:

      Hi Hannah,

      We’re really sorry to hear about his thyroid, periodontal disease, and heart murmur concern. We can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be for your little one. We have a regimen that can help to support him against his symptoms.

      Resthyro is our main hyperthyroidism support. It has herbs that can help to balance the thyroid function and hormone production.

      We have Mouth Drops to help support the pain and inflammation in his mouth. It can help to prevent gingivitis and tooth decay, but it’s still very important to keep up with his oral hygiene.

      Hearty Heart is our main heart health support, it can help to manage heart palpitations and improve the blood flow. It also has antispasmodic properties to help relax the heart muscle naturally and gently.

      Turmeric is a super herb with curcumin properties that can help to manage any pain and inflammation your boy has in his oral, thyroid and heart health.

      Here’s the link to our saver kit for Resthyro and Turmeric
      https://www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com/natural-remedy-to-aid-hyperthyroidism-symptoms-in-cats-dogs

      Hearty Heart
      https://www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com/hearty-heart-for-heart-disease-in-cats

      Our saver kit for Hearty Heart and Turmeric https://www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com/heart-murmurs-in-dogs-cats

      and Mouth Drops
      https://www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com/mouth-drops-cat-bad-breath

      Dr. Amanda also offers vet consultations, here’s the link to sign up for it
      https://www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com/veterinarian-consultation-dr-amanda/

      You can take our supplements with his existing medications like methimazole or other prescriptions. We do recommend you to space it 2 hours apart to ensure that his body can absorb all the healing properties of all the products ♥

      It is true that sometimes anesthesia and surgery may not be recommended if a pet has complicated health concerns as this will put them at risk. We recommend following your vet’s advice as they have a better understanding of his physical condition and blood work. ♥

      We’re always just a message away if you need anything. Sending your sweet boy lots of love and healing vibes.

      Yours in wellness
      Team NHV

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