Thyroid Problems In Cats

Thyroid problems are not only a problem that can affect humans but also cats. The most common version of a thyroid problem experienced by felines is hyperthyroidism, caused by an excessive concentration of circulating thyrozine-a thyroid hormones, also known as T4.

Thyroid issues in catsWho gets it and what are the symptoms?

Studies have shown the hyperthyroidism can affect any breed of cat and either gender but also always occurs in older cats. Only around 6% of cases happen in cats that are under 10 years of age and the average age for those affected is between 12 and 13 years old.

The two main symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats is weight loss and an increased appetite. Weight loss is seen in around 95% of cases while an increase in appetite is seen in 67-81%. Other symptoms include excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactivity and diarrhoea. Some have noted that an unkempt appearance, an increase in fur shedding and panting can be associated with the condition while around half the cats affected vomit. Find all types of items you might need for care of your cat at



Many of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are similar to other conditions that older cats suffer from such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney failure and types of cancer. Therefore, a vet uses a battery of tests to make a diagnosis including a CBC, chemistry panel and urinalysis. These can rule out a number of common conditions. Added to this a blood test is taken that will show elevation of the T4 levels in their bloodstream, though a small percentage of cats with the condition will still show normal levels.


There are a number of different treatment paths that can be used which have advantages and disadvantages.

Oral administration of anti-thyroid medicine is one step with a drug called methimazole being the most commonly used. It can start correcting the condition in as little as 2-3 weeks but around 10-15% of cats see side effects from it including loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy and occasionally a blood cell abnormality. Most side effects are mild and wear off with time though some of the more serious ones can mean stopping the medication. The biggest common problem can be when a cat refuses to take the tablet as the course needs to be administered for life.

Surgical removal of the thyroid gland is an option when the condition causes benign tumours, called thyroid adenoma that can affect one or both of the thyroid glands. It can be expensive in the short term but may save years of medication and check-ups.

Radioactive iodine therapy is the safest and most effective option. Radioactive iodine is given by injection and concentrates in the thyroid gland where it irradiates and destroys the hyperfunctioning tissues. Only a single treatment is needed and no surgery is involved. Originally, it was difficult to obtain but now more and more facilities are licensed to give the treatment. It still remains expensive however, with cost usually from $500-800 including the cost of being in the treatment centre for up to 14 days for recovery.

It is always best to check with a vet whenever you think there may be something wrong with your cat. Also, remember that cats are very adept at hiding problems so you may need to observe your cat carefully to catch signs something is wrong but as soon as you do, take them to see a professional for a full diagnosis and treatment.


Thyroid & Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’re expecting! All of a sudden there’s a lot more to worry about. You’ll have to set up a nursery, scope out the best stroller, and of course, talk to your doctor about your thyroid. If you’re on the lookout for a new stroller, check out this website to get started!

Thyroid hormones are actually critical during the first trimester of pregnancy. The fetus relies on the mother’s thyroid hormones to help create the brain and nervous system. After the 12-week mark, the baby will produce its own thyroid hormones. So how does pregnancy affect mothers who suffer from hyper- or hypothyroidism? Is it possible to develop the disease while expecting? Do the conditions influence postpartum health?

Read on to find the answers to these questions and other pertinent points regarding pregnancy and thyroid disease.


The development of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose because pregnancy in and of itself causes the thyroid to pump out more hormones. Although the fetus needs the mother’s hormones for early development, there can be too much of a good thing. If the disease—whether developed before or during gestation—goes unchecked, there’s potential harm to mother and baby, including:
preeclampsia (very high blood pressure)
• miscarriage
• premature birth
• low birth rate

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy:
• rapid and irregular heartbeat
• slight tremors
• unexplained weight loss or failure to gain pregnancy weight

Diagnosis: If an obstetrician suspects hyperthyroidism, he/she will most likely order a battery of blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment: Mild cases may not require medical intervention other than close monitoring. Serious cases may require anti-thyroid medications.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Among the biggest concerns of dealing with this condition during pregnancy is that the baby will not receive the necessary hormones for early development. Of course, there are other risks, including:
• preeclampsia
• anemia
• miscarriage
low birth weight
• stillbirth

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in pregnancy:
• extreme fatigue
• cold intolerance
• muscle cramps
• constipation
• memory or concentration problems

Diagnosis: A blood test to measure thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment: For hypothyroidism detected during pregnancy, a synthetic thyroid hormone may be prescribed to bring levels up to normal pregnancy counts.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

This condition occurs in 4-10% of women in the year after giving birth. It happens when stored-up thyroid hormones slip into the bloodstream, causing hormone levels to climb and triggering in hyperthyroidism. In most cases, it’s a temporary condition. After a few months, levels self-adjust back to normal.

Unfortunately, many of the symptoms coincide with signs of being a mother to a newborn as well as postpartum depression, so postpartum thyroiditis can go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis:
• anxiety
• insomnia
• palpitations
• fatigue
• weight loss
• irritability

Risk factors for postpartum thyroiditis:
• autoimmune disorders, including Type 1 diabetes
• personal or family history of thyroid dysfunction
• previous postpartum thyroiditis

Treatment: Depends on the extent of symptoms, but may include beta blockers.

The bottom line is that thyroid conditions don’t have to diminish your joy of expecting as long as you and your doctor remain diligent.

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