News & Advice

A cats battle with hyperthyroidism

Aug 10, 2022 | Cats, Pet Health

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that affects many older cats. Often the symptoms are subtle, with many being overlooked and associated with “old age”. However, regular health checks and screening allow early detection, resulting in the best outcomes.

A clients story…

“Meet Dude. Two years ago, he was living at home with my family. Unfortunately, they had to move to a new house and couldn’t take Dude with them, so he came to live with me.

When Dude moved in, he was 17 (that’s equivalent to 84 in human years!). He was very talkative and had a good appetite, but even though I fed him a premium diet of quality food from the vets, he didn’t seem to put any weight on – some might say this is lucky; he could eat what he wanted and not get overweight – but something wasn’t adding up.

I decided to take him to Anexa Vets for a senior pet consult to check his overall health. The consult included a health check, and advice about his changing needs. A blood sample was also taken and tested to assess the health of his kidneys and thyroid, as it is very common for older cats to have diseases that affect these organs.

Thankfully, the clinic was able to test the bloods in-clinic. Not even 20 minutes later, we found out  Dude had hyperthyroid disease (overactive thyroid hormones). It was great to have the results so quickly – it meant Dude’s treatment could start ASAP and it was time efficient for us not having to bring him back a couple of days later.

While some hyperthyroid disease can be managed by putting the cat on a special diet or topical cream, the treatment plan chosen for Dude was daily medication. The prescribed tablets would help keep his thyroid working as it should. A second vet visit was booked a month later. At this visit, another blood sample was taken and tested to check if the medicine was working. Thankfully it was working perfectly.

Dude now visits his vet every six months for blood tests to check if his medication needs adjustment and to see how his overall health is going. It has been nearly two years, and this plan is working well for us and Dude. Regular health checks, screening, a good diet and managing his medication well have been crucial to ensuring Dude’s good health is maintained. It has also been great to have the support of Anexa’s staff, I know they are only a phone call away if I need advice.”


A word from the vet…

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats?

In the beginning, this client didn’t see many symptoms that lead them to believe that Dude had this condition. But if you have a cat, especially if they are over 7 years old – these are the signs you need to look out for:

  • Sudden dramatic weight loss
  • Inappetence/eating too much and not gaining weight
  • Sunken In eyes
  • Dehydration
  • Low activity levels
  • Change in behaviour
  • Excessive drinking
  • Being extra vocal or talkative, especially around food

Clinical signs can vary from pet to pet; they may show some or none. This is why yearly check ups and screening at your vets is important, especially when your pets are starting to get into their twilight years. The best outcomes are from early detection!


Other Anexa resources you may find helpful:

Do you have an older cat that seems to be eating a lot and not gaining weight?


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