Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 2 News List

Aging cats, dogs may be susceptible to hyperthyroidism

SYMPTOMS:Cats who have the disorder tend to eat, drink and urinate more and are hyperactive, while dogs tend to be the reverse, a veterinarian said

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taichung-based veterinarian Lee Po-ju examines a cat on Nov. 27 in Taichung.

Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times

Pet owners should look out for thyroid disorders in aging cats and dogs, with rapid changes in appetite and weight being the main warning signs, a Taichung-based veterinarian said.

Regardless of breed, cats older than seven are at risk of an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, veterinarian Lee Po-ju (李柏儒) said.

Cats that have the condition tend to eat, drink and urinate more, but lose weight, he said.

They also develop a swelling in the neck, which pet owners might miss because it is typically concealed by their fur, while their hyperactivity is misinterpreted as a sign of good health, Lee said.

Hyperthyroidism is characterized by an overactive metabolism, which could lead to dangerous heart conditions or weight loss, he said.

Unlike cats, dogs that have hyperthyroidism tend to be sleepy, and display a lack of interest in food and water, he said.

Cats and dogs are considered old after their seventh or eighth year and they should be screened at a veterinary clinic for thyroid problems, he said, urging pet owners to keep an eye on changes in behavior and dietary habits.

To check the thyroid, veterinarians measure blood potassium levels and liver function, then administer medication and thyroid suppressor or booster drugs as needed, he said.

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