Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older cats and has been discussed in this column previously. The thyroid gland is located in the neck of all mammals and in some cats it can become enlarged and produce excess amounts of thyroid hormone. Too much thyroid hormone can cause a variety of problems including weight loss, despite an increased appetite, increased thirst, poor skin and coat condition and sometimes diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Affected cats can also suffer temperament changes and develop secondary problems in a variety of organs like the eyes, heart and kidneys.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated in a variety of ways but no treatment options are without problems:
• Tablets can be used, but they need to be given once or twice daily, lifelong. This can be very difficult in some cats.
• Surgical removal of the offending thyroid gland can be attempted but this must be done under general anaesthetic, which can be a concern in an older cat.
• Radiotherapy is third option, but is expensive and involves a long period of isolated in-patient treatment.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition has developed breakthrough nutrition, with a pet food which is clinically proven to manage hyperthyroidism. A ‘hyperthyroid’ thyroid gland uses dietary iodine to produce excess thyroid hormones, causing the clinical signs described above. By carefully limiting dietary iodine, normal levels of thyroid hormone production can be achieved. The product has already been clinically proven to safely and effectively manage cats with hyperthyroidism in the USA.
Even more excitingly, Donaldson’s have been selected to take part in a European Survey on the product, prior to its full release, for the purposes of getting feedback from owners on how it has helped their cat. Our vets have the opportunity to offer the food to 10 clients over the next few months. These pet owners will be among the first to try out the food for their hyperthyroid cats. With a great taste cats will love, this complete daily nutrition means no pills or medication are required to treat hyperthyroidism. In fact, it’s as easy as feeding!