Lady Butterfly was never a big eater and was always thin, hence her nickname, Pretty Little Lady. As she got older she gradually started demanding more and more food but she didn’t put on any weight. Otherwise she seemed active and playful so I wasn’t sure anything was wrong. We had never run any bloodwork on her except to check her for FeLV and FIV so according to my veterinarian’s suggestions we ran a panel on her.
Bluebird, recently started losing weight and developed a bad case of diarrhea. She also seemed a little more lethargic than usual even though she was never a very active cat. We ran a panel and found nothing very remarkable though her glucose and one liver marker were slightly elevated. I elected to take her home and give her fluids for support and encourage her to eat anything at all. Eventually she lost a drastic amount of weight so several months later we ran some more bloodwork.
Both of these cats were diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism a condition that is becoming more and more common as cats are living longer. Some signs of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, increased appetite (or sometimes decreased appetite), vomiting and/or diarrhea, rapid heart rate and sometimes hyperactivity. It is usually seen in senior cats and is caused by a benign tumor on the thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism is successfully treated by one of three methods: medication (typically methimazole), radioiodine treatment or surgical removal of the abnormal thyroid gland. Your veterinarian will help you decide which treatment is best for your cat.
So far Lady has been doing well on methimazole twice daily. Bluebird has just been on it for a week now so it is too early to tell if it is working for her but I believe she may be putting on a little weight already. She will go back in 30 days for a recheck.
As your cat gets older she should be examined regularly by your veterinarian. By the time she is 10 years old (or even younger) you’ll want to have bloodwork run to check not only the thyroid but other organs as well.
How old is your cat? Have you taken her for a geriatric check-up yet? Are you treating