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Treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats


The sooner treatment of hyperthyroidism begins in cats, the better the chances of a symptom-free cat life. Which therapy is most suitable also depends on how far the disease has progressed. There are various methods of treating hyperthyroidism in cats - Image: Shutterstock / Tyler Olson

All forms of treatment for an overactive thyroid in cats aim to reduce the amount of thyroid hormones released to a normal level or to completely prevent them. The animal disease is either treated with medication, surgery or with radio iodine therapy. The latter procedure promises the greatest chance of recovery, but is only offered in certain facilities because it is a nuclear medicine form of therapy.

Treat hyperthyroidism in cats with medication

The classic treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats is with drugs that contain the active ingredients methimazole or carbimazole. These are supposed to inhibit the production of the thyroid hormone in order to reduce the metabolism to an acceptable level. For successful therapy, however, the veterinarian should first diagnose the cause of the condition.

If a node impaired the correct functioning of the thyroid gland, the symptoms would reappear after stopping the medication and the disease would resume. In this case, lifelong medication can only be prevented if the knot has been surgically removed.

Surgical treatment as therapy

If the lump, i.e. the pathologically changed thyroid tissue, is surgically removed, an overactive thyroid in cats can be permanently cured. However, the success of this treatment also depends on where the node is located.

In an unfavorable place, there is a risk of damaging vital organs or nerves. In certain circumstances, it is necessary to remove all thyroid tissue, so that a less dangerous underactive thyroid has to be accepted. This is then permanently treated with hormones.

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Radio iodine therapy: Gentle, but not possible everywhere

Radioiodine therapy is an established treatment in Germany for hyperthyroidism. Cats can also be treated this way. The therapy is gentle and promises high chances of recovery without surgery. Radioactive iodine is injected for the treatment. This accumulates almost exclusively in the affected thyroid tissue, kills the tumor and is then excreted by the cat.

Due to various safety regulations, this procedure is not yet very common in veterinary medicine. Ask your veterinarian if and where you can use this method to treat hyperthyroidism in cats.