Thyroid problems in cats: what to look out for

Thyroid problems in pets is quite common, though how cats and dogs are affected can be quite different.


Dogs commonly suffer from hypothyroidism…-to-recognise-it/ while in cats, hyperthyroidism, or high hormone levels, is more common. The most obvious difference between the two is that dogs with hypothyroidism become lethargic and put on weight, while cats with hyperthyroidism have excessive energy levels and eat a lot yet lose weight.

Cats generally don’t show signs of hyperthyroidism until they are at least 7 years old.  Most people think it is a good thing when their older cat starts becoming more active; they don’t realise it’s a thyroid issue until the levels are so high that the cat starts to show more serious signs. While increased energy might be a good sign in your older cat, it’s always best to check with your vet to rule out a cat thyroid problem.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

  • excessive energy; pacing for hours on end and not sleeping
  • thirst
  • urination
  • hunger
  • vocalisation
  • intermittent vomiting
  •  weight loss, despite having a ravenous appetite
  • greasy, matted coat. Your cat may stop grooming

Over time, hyperthyroidism in cats can progress to a more serious symptoms, such as vomiting. Left untreated, cats with thyroid problems can also develop secondary problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism

  1. Removal of the thyroid gland; a delicate surgery that must be performed by an experienced surgeon
  2. Medication
  3. Food. Hill’s Thyroid Care y/d is a prescription diet that reportedly shows results within three weeks.

Discuss all options with your veterinarian. A cat with thyroid problems can live a long and happy life provided he gets the treatment he needs.