Hyperthyroidism in senior cats by Charlene

Charlene and her senior cats,  Bugs and Jag  When your cat gets older..there are many simple things they could be telling you by their actions. Decreases or increases in their water and food intake?  Changes in activity level? Becoming more vocal?  All of these could be signs that a physical exam and blood work are needed. These symptoms can indicate several treatable diseases in your feline friend.

One of the most common “old kitty” diseases  is Hyperthyroidism. This treatable disease can occur from around the age of 9 and older. It causes the body to produce more thyroid hormone than it should.  This can cause or contribute to weight loss, increased heart rate, kidney damage, and many other health issues.

I have three senior cats, age 18, 17 and 16 which are hyperthyroid .   Each one presented with different symptoms. First Bunnie (my oldest ) become very vocal which was a new behavior for her,  Bugs (17) presented with increased water consumption and unkempt coat and lastly Jag (16) presented with “I’m always hungry” with a thinning frumpy hair coat  .  Each had blood work and each indicated hyperthyroidism. Our veterinarian had medication immediately started to counteract the disease and we continue to monitor their blood work to ensure we are on the correct dose. This is a disease that is usually easily controlled with once or twice daily medication.

Since some cats are totally impossible to give a pill to, there are options for the course of treatment, for example, Bunnie gets her medication in a pill wrap, Bugs receives his crushed in his can food and Jag has his treated inside his ear flap (pinna) by transdermal pen.  There are also liquid and flavored tablet or chrw forms of the supplement. The tablet is very small and is unnoticed in treats for some cats.

This disease along with other kitty diseases is treatable and cats can live a normal long and happy life if treated and monitored.  Blood work is such an important part of preventative care for our senior kids as they can’t tell us the how they are feeling and the ways they show signs of disease varies from cat to cat.   It is NEVER too late to bring your cat in and have preventative blood work completed for your kitty. This along with annual or semiannual exams will help your veterinarian catch any health issues early and ensure that your kitty is with you for many years to come.