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Hungry, mean cat – could it be a hyper thyroid?
Older cats are prone to a number of conditions, but hyperthyroidism is one that can have severe consequences on your cat's overall health. Hyperthyroidism, a common sometimes serious disease of aging cats, refers to an excess of the thyroid hormone, thyroxin, which determines how quickly the animal burns and makes energy. This condition can cause physical changes in your feline, but may also spark behavioral changes like irritability or aggressiveness.
When a cat develops this condition, you may notice that it begins to lose weight, even though it is eating all of its pet food, or perhaps even more than usual. Sometimes, cats with hyperthyroidism will eat their Artemis Fresh Mix Adult Cat Dry Food so fast that they vomit. A cat with this condition may also have diarrhea. They may be uncharacteristically hyperactive and aggressive, even if in the past they have been laid back. An unkempt coat, thickened nails and rapid heartbeat are other symptoms to look for.
If you suspect your cat has hyperthyroidism, you will need to bring it to the veterinarian because certain blood and thyroid tests are the only ways to diagnose the condition. When the vet examines the cat's blood sample, it may be slightly thick with more red blood cells and white blood cell levels that signal typical stress response. In the thyroid test, a vet will be able to tell whether certain thyroid hormones, such as free T4 and T3 are elevated.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism is relatively simple in cats. Medication is usually enough to treat the condition. Pet drugs like Methimazole, or the brand-name variety Tapazole, will likely be prescribed for your cat. This daily tablet can be given to your cat orally using Greenies Pill Pockets for best results. Other treatment options include surgery to remove the thyroid and radiation or radioiodine treatment to target the thyroid.
Many owners worry about the risk of kidney failure in a cat that has hyperthyroidism. Cats' kidneys become less able to clear wastes from their bodies as they age, so when the a thyroid is hyperactive and increasing blood pressure, thus pumping more blood through the kidneys, there is plenty of opportunity for wastes to be cleared. When the cat is treated for hyperthyroidism, blood pressure returns to normal, and over time the amount of waste that is not cleared from the blood will increase.