Hyperthyroidism in cats

Hyperthyroidism is a common medical condition affecting cats generally over six years of age. In most cases, the condition results from a benign tumor of the thyroid gland, which causes excess thyroid hormone secretion.

Excessive hormone secretion causes accelerations of bodily processes and clinical signs that are apparent to owners. Such signs include increased appetite, weight loss, rapid heart rate, muscle weakness, restlessness, vocalization, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst/urination, and heat intolerance.

Over time, the accelerated metabolism leads to deleterious effects on the cat's internal organs. Resultant heart disease, kidney disease, and/or intestinal disease can ultimately lead to death. Fortunately the disease is very familiar to veterinarians and is most often easily and rapidly diagnosed by measuring the level of thyroid hormone (T4) in the bloodstream.

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