Hyperthyroidism is an issue that primarily affects cats. The thyroid gland becomes hyperactive and gives off too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism in cats often goes undiagnosed. However, in severe cases, the most common symptom the owner sees is a cat who has a voracious appetite, but is losing weight. Often times they will have an unkempt hair coat. They also have a very rapid heart rate. Other possible symptoms included: increased urination, vomiting, restlessness, and diarrhea.
The thyroid gland sits in the throat. A normal thyroid gland should not be big enough to feel. However, an enlarge thyroid gland will be palpable. It will feel like two small peas on either side of the trachea (throat).
Treatment for hyperthyroidism includes daily medication. However, as most cat owners know, pilling a cat can be a very difficult job. Some cats will take the pills if they are hidden in food (i.e. hot dog, bread, cheese). Another good way to pill a cat is to put it in the back of the throat and then squirt water in the cats mouth. This accomplishes two thing. First, the cat will be forced to swallow; and second, the water will help the pill down the cats throat making it more comfortable for the cat.
There is another treatment option that is safe and is actually a cure. There are special clinics that will irradiate the thyroid gland. It is a completely painless process. The cat usually stays in the hospital for a few days in order to eliminate any radioactive waste. Then they can go home and resume a normal life. This treatment is the ideal treatment for hyperthyroidism. However, it is also the most expensive and there are not that many clinics that are licensed to do it.