Feline Medicine for Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems may occur in cats due to an excess or a deficit of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland. There is feline medicine available for thyroid problems and these will regulate the production of hormones. Hyperthyroidism (the excess production of thyroid hormones) is more frequent in cats than hypothyroidism. There are several types of treatment for thyroid problems: medication, radioiodine therapy and the surgical removal of thyroid tissue.

Medication Treatment

The medication treatment for hyperthyroidism can be very effective and will lower the levels of thyroid hormones.

Methimazole is a medication that can be used in cats with increased thyroid hormone levels but may also be effective in cats with hypothyroidism. The medication is administered twice per day and in the beginning it should be administered in low doses and gradually increased, as the body gets used to the treatment. If a high dose is given, the cat may have adverse reactions and the hormone levels can decrease rapidly until a level that may indicate hypothyroidism.

Common side effects of methimazole include lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting or lack of activity and sleepiness. In rare cases, the cat may have itchy skin and the cat can scratch causing wounds that may get infected. If these side effects occur, the drug must be discontinued. The side effects should occur within the first weeks of administering the medication.

The cat must be carefully monitored and the hormone levels must be periodically checked. The vet will also asses the condition of the heart and kidneys.

The cat may develop resistance to the medication; however, if no serious side effects occur and the cat doesn’t develop resistance, the drug can be administered for a long time.

However, medication only keeps the hormone levels under control; if you opt for surgery or radioiodine treatment, the disease can be fully cured.

Alternative Treatment Options for Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems in cats may also be solved through surgery and radioiodine treatment. Both treatments can fully cure a thyroid problem.

The surgery is also known as thyroidectomy and consists of the removal of one or both thyroid glands. The surgery is typically highly effective. In rare cases, if only one thyroid gland is removed, there is the risk of the remaining gland to become hyperactive, as it tries to compensate the production of thyroid hormones. Medication can reduce the hormone levels and if need be, a second surgery can be performed to remove the remaining thyroid gland.

Radioactive iodine is a solution that is administered through an injection and it will destroy thyroid tissues. For safety reasons, the cat must be isolated for 7 to 12 days after the administration of the treatment. The treatment consists of one single injection; in rare cases, a second injection is required. The iodine will destroy only active thyroid cells; the dormant cells will start producing hormones after the therapy is administered.

Thyroid problems in felines can be treated through medication, surgery and radioactive iodine injections. Consult your vet and determine the best treatment option for your pet.