As cats get older they can experience different kinds of health issues and challenges. If you have noticed that your older cat has started losing weight but has an increased appetite, she could be suffering from hyperthyroidism.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Older Cats
Hyperthyroidism can occur in any breed of cat and usually occurs when cats get to 12 or 13 years old. Hyperthyroidism is caused by too much thyroid hormone T4 in the bloodstream. Usually, a benign tumor causes the thyroid gland to over-produce thyroid hormones which in turn causes the heart to beat faster. This puts stress on all the organs, including the kidneys. Your vet can check for signs of hyperthyroidism and run blood tests.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
The most common symptoms of a hyperthyroid cat are an increased appetite and noticeable weight loss. However, you may also notice that hyperthyroidism causes your cat to become more active, drink more water, have a poor hair coat, and have frequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
Connection Between Kidney Disease and Hyperthyroidism
There is a definite link between kidney disease and an overactive thyroid in cats. If your cat already suffers from kidney disease, the increased blood flow to the kidneys can help them to function better. In this way, hyperthyroidism can actually mask kidney disease.
Many cat owners have found that when they have treated a hyperthyroid cat, they notice that their cats have symptoms of chronic kidney disease. However, it’s important to remember that the over-active thyroid was probably just masking the symptoms.
If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can actually speed up the development or progression of kidney disease. Therefore, it is important to treat hyperthyroidism so that any kidney disease doesn’t become worse and untreatable.
Contact your local vet who will be able to give your older cat a checkup and run blood tests to check for hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Once the thyroid levels are normalized, it will be easier to treat and manage any issues relating to your cat’s kidney function.