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Elevated Thyroid Levels in Cats – When to Worry

Posted on: July 12th, 2012 by

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Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from the Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I’ll be answering some cat health questions today that were posted on the Facebook page of Pets Best Insurance.

The first question comes from Kate. “Our Calico cat has a mid-range thyroid count. It’s not bad but higher than the vet would like to see. We walk her and play with her and I’m working on weight loss. What, if anything, can we do to help fix this?”

So this is a really interesting question because it sounds like Kate’s probably worried about a disease that we see in kitties. It’s called Hyperthyroidism. It would be really unusual for this particular cat to be hyperthyroid at her age. She is only 3 years old. Hyperthyroidism is fairly common in our cats but it’s typically our older cats, 12 years and up.

One of the main symptoms of hyperthyroidism is weight loss. Often despite a good appetite or what some people describe as an actual voracious appetite. So this kitty has weight loss but again, it seems that she came overweight to her family, and the owners have been really working to get that weight off of her. She needed to loose some weight. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism are a very rapid heart rate, usually up around 240, very high. A lot of them are vomiting and most of the time, the doctor can feel an enlarged thyroid gland in the neck area. So it doesn’t sound like this cat has any of those symptoms and so I’m not too concerned about that. For this particular cat, that mid-range thyroid count just might be perfectly normal for her as an individual and it doesn’t need fixing at this time.

As kitties get older, we do recommend screening blood work to see what that thyroid is doing, and if we ever have any questions about it, we continue to take some blood tests to see if that is progressing into true hyperthyroidism. If you have any other cat health questions, please post them on the Facebook page of Pets Best Insurance.

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