Foothill Felines Spooky Spots in her favorite cat tree.
|(PLEASE NOTE: We are NOT veterinarians!! However, we want to share our personal research and experiences regarding these important feline health issues with other cat-lovers!! We will be updating this page often!! Send us your ideas and any comments!!)|
Most of us have heard how important it is to have our older felines checked several times a year by our veterinarian - but many of us are not exactly sure why, or what our vets will be looking for. The good news is that cats are living longer than ever before, due mostly to the improvements in commercial cat foods, medical care advancements, and more cat owners taking the responsibility for their beloved pets, and keeping them indoors. The bad news is that, when cats reach these older ages, they do become much more susceptible to a variety of diseases that until recently were not even associated with felines - and one of these diseases is "Hyperthyroidism". However, because veterinarians are now more aware of the conditions surrounding this disease in felines, and have better methods of detection, if cat owners bring their animals in for complete physical examinations annually between the ages of 1 and 9, and twice a year from the ages of 10 years and older - cats with this disease for the most part can be treated early enough to be quite successful.
Let's talk first about the thyroid gland. In cats and in humans, the thyroid gland oversees the overall metabolic rate (the speed of how slow or how fast) at which the body functions. It can be thought of as the body's thermostat, and produces two hormones, referred to as T3 and T4, which circulate throughout the body and affect sensors on the various organs of the body. In cats, the thyroid gland consists of two flat lobes, which cannot be routinely palpated, and are located on each side of the cat's windpipe. In the front of each thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands are also embedded. The amount of hormones that the thyroid gland produces is very important - too little of these hormones causes a condition known as "Hypothyroidism", and leads to a slowing of the body's metabolic rate. Animals that are hypothyroid may become lethargic (less active) and overweight, may have multiple skin problems such as itching, flaking and hair loss, and often become more sensitive to cold. Hypothyroidism is rarely seen in felines.
When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, and produces an overabundance of thyroid hormones, this condition is known as "Hyperthyroidism". It is most commonly seen in cats over 8 years old, and can sometimes be caused by cancer in the thyroid gland. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats usually include weight loss, even though the cats may eat large amounts, and always seem to be hungry. Other symptoms can include increased urination, increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in behavior and central flexion of the neck. Often the first sign of this disease is an increased heart rate, which can be confirmed by x-rays and ultrasound. This is referred to as a "hypertrophic cardiomyopathy", which indicates an increased muscle wall disease of the heart. As you can see, these symptoms can also occur in other diseases such as feline diabetes and kidney problems, so it is very important to have your vet examine your older kitty carefully, and to evaluate all the organs of the body at the same time.
There are three major treatment options for cats with confirmed diagnoses of hyperthyroidism, and each of these treatments can be very successful. Each treatment method of course also has pros and cons.
The least invasive, lowest-cost option is to medicate your cat daily (give a pill EVERY DAY to your cat). Of course, some cats are easier to give pills to than others, and the side effects of this pill may include vomiting. While an advantage of this method is that no anesthesia is required, and it is less costly and less invasive, there is, unfortunately with this method, no restriction of growth to the cancerous tumor that may have caused the disease in the first place. And, this medication must be given EVERY DAY.
Another treatment option available is surgery. With this method, your veterinarian surgically removes the thyroid gland. This method can usually be performed by most veterinarians, and does require anesthesia. An immediate response to the treatment is one of the most important advantages of this method; also, there is no vomiting as a side effect of medication. However, there is the risk of anesthesia, and the risk of removing the parathyroid glands. Plus, there may be thyroid tissue in other parts of the body not removed, and if this is the case, then even surgery would not cure the hyperthyroidism.
Most medical sources seem to agree that the best method of treatment for this disease is the third type - which involves the injecting of radioactive iodine into the vein which then destroys all thyroid tissue. This method is non-invasive to the animal, as an injection is used rather than surgery; no anesthesia is involved; and the irradiated iodine will reach all thyroid tissue in the body. The disadvantages of this method are that it is the mostly costly of the three treatment options, and does require your cat to spend 3 days as an inpatient in the veterinary hospital. For those interested in more options, there is a company called RadioCat which specializes in this form of treatment, and states that their treatment does not affect healthy thyroid tissue. You and your vet may want to take a look at their website, located at: http://www.radiocat.com/section5.htm.
All three of these treatments can be successful. If your feline has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, discuss these methods carefully with your trusted veterinarian, and together, you and s/he can make the decision as to which treatment option is best for your cat. You will need to take into account the individual circumstances involved such as how old your cat is and whether your cat has any other medical conditions; your own financial resources and lifestyle, and your veterinarian's surgical experience.
CLICK ON KITTY to go back to beginning of Bengal Health Corner!
NUVET PLUS FELINE SUPPLEMENT
~ Give your kitty the energy, great health and desire to enjoy life to the fullest! Used and recommended by Foothill Felines, click on image above to order this uniquely powerful nutritional supplement for felines at our Foothill Felines breeder discount. Just a pinch a day, sprinkled onto wet and/or dry food, energizes and supports all ages, weights and breeds of cats. Developed by scientists, veterinarians and formulators to enhance the health and lives of cats, this unique Nu- Vet supplement contains many important minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins especially needed by active felines' metabolisms INCLUDING taurine, calcium, blue green algae, brewer's yeast, and much more.
FELIWAY PLUG-INS & SPRAY
~ Click on links above for more information and to order these exceptionally calming Feliway products for felines. Used and recommended by Foothill Felines! Wonderful for cats of all ages, weights, and breeds. Contains natural cat pheromones for extremely effective stress relief and eliminating need for cats and kittens to mark or exhibit other unwanted behaviors. Every multi-cat household should know about these plug-ins; they are odorless to people, yet they are especially helpful to kittens/cats during a move, any change in your household routine, periods of stress of any kind, and queening.
~ Click on image above to learn about the incredible new exercise wheels for cats; the Toy-Go-Round wheels!! They're simply the best designed, best built and best priced wheels we've found anywhere!!
|© 1996-2009 Copyright
by HDW Enterprises, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
HDW Enterprises, Inc., Cameron Park, CA 95682 (530) 672-CATZ phone
http://www.hdw-inc.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org