A comprehensive guide to the diagnosis and treatment of this common veterinary endocrine disease.
Getty ImagesThe American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has released guidelines for managing feline hyperthyroidism. Affecting 1.5 to 11.4 percent of cats worldwide, it's the most common endocrine disease in cats more than 10 years old in the United States, according to a release from the AAFP. In fact, feline hyperthyroidism was cited as the No. 5 most common medical condition reported for Nationwide insurance in 2015. So there's no doubt you're seeing it in your veterinary practice.
“Our hope is that by using these guidelines, veterinary professionals will be able to diagnose [feline hyperthyroidism] long before the cat becomes the classic scrawny, unkempt patient with a mass on its neck,” says Cynthia Ward, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, and AAFP advisory panel co-chair in the release. “With newer clinical presentations, the guidelines explain how a cat can fall into one of six categories, and includes a diagnostic and management strategy for each.”
These six categories include:
The guidelines also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various forms of treatment, which include radioactive iodine, medical therapy consisting of oral or transdermal medication, surgical thyroidectomy and dietary therapy. They also break several myths about treatment.
To help with client education and communication, the AAFP has also put together a brochure and handout on feline hyperthyroidism. See www.catvets.com/hyperthyroidism for the guidelines and other resources.