I was sitting on my couch enjoying a magazine when I realized my cat Olive had been meowing non-stop for 15 minutes. I started to think about it and it occurred to me that she had been much more vocal over the past few months.
Our own Dr. Alexander Byron explains what was happening with Olive…
“While there can be many reasons your cat may be meowing, a common reason older cats vocalize is due to the condition known as hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is an overproduction of thyroid hormone leading to excess levels of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. Excess levels of thyroid hormone lead to an increased metabolic rate. Internally the body is racing causing stress on the heart, kidneys, GI tract, liver, and nervous system. This increased metabolic rate burns calories leading to an increased appetite and yet patients are often losing weight.
This condition is seen most commonly in older cats around the age of 12 or 13.
Clinical signs are weight loss, increased appetite, vomiting and or diarrhea, increased water consumption and urination, increased activity, nervousness, behavior changes, vocalization, tremors, poor hair coat or hair loss, panting or labored breathing.
Increased heart rates, heart murmurs, and increased blood pressure are common in cats with hyperthyroidism. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to a thickening of the heart muscle called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which can be fatal.
Diagnosis is based on the clinical signs mentioned, palpation of an enlarged thyroid gland, increased thyroid hormone levels, a full blood chemistry panel, CBC, and a urinalysis are indicated to rule out other concurrent diseases.
Treatment options are radioactive iodine treatment to selectively destroy the thyroid tissue, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, medical management with an anti-thyroid medication, or dietary management with a restricted iodine diet.
All treatments have advantages and disadvantages which should be reviewed with your veterinarian. Treatment is generally successful.”
So I did the thing we all hate and I corralled Olive into her carrier and brought her to the doctor. Labwork revealed she had hyperthyroid disease and I started her on her medication. Within a few days I could see that she was responding well to her new meds. The vocalizing decreased and she seemed to be putting weight back on.
If you have noticed any signs that Dr. Byron noted, call today so that we can determine if your cat is suffering from hyperthyroid disease.
By Evie Fredenburg
I am a Veterinary Practice Manager for a wonderful animal hospital in Southfield, MI. We see mostly cats and dogs and an occasional exotic animal as well. Contact us if you are looking for outstanding veterinary care!