Per Dr. Karen Becker “Hyperthyroidism” is the most diagnosed endocrine disorder in cats. This disorder is very common in cats over 8. What is hyperthyroidism? The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of your cat’s throat. The thyroid gland overproduces the thyroid hormone and it is called hyperthyroidism.
Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats that can occur:
90% of kitties that acquire hyperthyroidism end up with weight loss
high blood pressure
heart rate, temperature and respiration rate can increase (metabolism has increased)
A simple blood test is done to determine if your cat has hyperthyroidism.
There are traditional treatments for hyperthyroidism management:
The first option is called medical management which means administrating a pill called “Methimazole” or trade name “Tapazole” for cats. The “Tapazole” is given 2 times a day to inhibit the thyroid hormone from being produced. Research show that most cats (87%) will have normalized thyroid levels within a couple of weeks. However as with drugs there are some side effects: gastrointestinal problems and the veterinarians have seen a really intense allergic response, decreased platelets and increased liver enzymes.
A more aggressive traditional thyroid therapy is surgery to remove the benign tumor from the thyroid gland. This surgery is curative but needs to be done by a surgeon who is very skilled and has performed many of these procedures. There could be complications with the parathyroid glands that sit on the thyroid gland. If the parathyroid glands are accidentally removed it can cause some really negative complications.
Another form of traditional therapy is called radioactive iodine. You would take your cat to a specialized radioactive approved facility and your cat would be given a dose of I-131 by shot. The radioactive form of the iodine attacks the diseased portion of your cat’s thyroid gland. Some thoughts on this method are:
You are injecting radioactive material into your cat
It is expensive
It can be stressful for your cat as you have to leave your cat at the radioactive approved facility for 7-10 days or until your cat’s radioactivity has dropped to a safe level.
You might want to explore some Integrative medicine to avoid the side affects of traditional treatments. In a small study 8 our of 13 cats had clinical resolution of the signs of hyperthyroidism using clinical homeopathy and classical homeopathy.
Herbal remedies (Eastern, Western, and Ayurvedic)
Change your cat’s diet to all-natural diet ( this type of diet can help reduce the hormone production)
Consider adding selenium into your cat’s diet (this helps remove the toxicity from the thyroid hormone)
DHA or arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic (can be added as it inhibits abnormal thyroid cell growth)
Adding supplements (vitamins and minerals) to your cat’s diet can help curb their hyperthyroidism.
Two supplements that have been shown to relax the thyroid gland are CoQ10 and L-carnitine.
Lemon balm has been proven to reduce hyperthyroidism.
If you want to try any of the above it is best to talk to a good holistic veterinarian who understands and values a more natural way.
If it is early enough in the development of the hyperthyroidism then start with homeopathy and/or other natural therapies. This would avoid many of the risks and side effects associated with traditional approaches. Dr. Karen Becker did say that if using the traditional method to consider the surgery as first choice. This if done by a highly skilled veterinarian surgeon eliminates all the side effects because it cures the problem.
Dr. Karen Becker says to check your cat’s thyroid levels after the age of 10. Dr. Shawn Messonnier says he stops vaccinating older cats with hyperthyroidism.
We dedicate this blog to Teddy who recently died because of hyperthyroidism. He was a great kitty and is missed by those who knew him.