Hyperthyroidism is a very common problem in cats. It is whereby there is an excess amount of T4 in the cat’s bloodstream. T4 is a thyroid hormone also known as thyroxin. This condition affects all cats’ breeds, whether male or female. However, hyperthyroidism in cats is most common in cats over 12 years old.
The thyroid hormone regulates the cat’s body metabolism, heart rate, and digestive function. Therefore, when the hormone is excess, symptoms such as increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss occur.
Editor's Pick (Prescription Diet)
Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health Canned Cat Food
Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Hound & Gatos American Rabbit Canned Cat Food
What Is the Best Food for a Cat with Hyperthyroidism? Reviews
1. Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health Canned Cat Food
This canned cat food is clinically proven to restore your kitty’s thyroid health within 3 weeks when fed as the only source of nutrition. Moreover, it is carefully balanced with the optimal levels of vitamins and minerals to support the kidney, heart, and skin health. This food is delicious with a rich meaty flavor that will excite even the pickiest cats.
Additionally, this diet helps in inhibiting the excess thyroid hormone production. Therefore, it is a great option for cats who cannot take any other thyroid treatment. This cat diet deprives the thyroid of iodine hence reduces its ability to produce more thyroid hormones to the cat’s bloodstream.
Also, this diet helps control symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism. However, this food has low protein content. Although good for cats with kidney problems, it is not ideal for cats who need to restore their muscle mass due to the low protein content.
2. Hound & Gatos American Rabbit Canned Cat Food
This diet is made of 98% rabbit meat with no by-products, corn, soy, guar gum, or carrageenan. Therefore, this high protein diet is perfect for cats with hyperthyroidism and are losing their muscle mass. Additionally, this diet is completely balanced with essential vitamins and minerals for the overall health of your cat. Also, it has all-natural limited ingredients with no grains added.
The rabbit meat in this diet is highly digestible and a good source of nutrition to your cat. Thus, this simple diet is also a good option for cats with food allergies, food sensitivities, and allergies. Even though this food cannot treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism, its nutrition will help him maintain a healthy muscle mass. Also, the food is low in carbohydrates content thus suitable for diabetic cats.
3. Feline Natural Hypoallergenic Limited Ingredients Canned Cat Food
This canned cat food is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates content. The food has cage-free chicken, free-range meats, or sustainably caught fish as the first ingredient.
Therefore, the diet provides your cat with proteins and fats they need as the source of energy they need to flourish. Also, this food has no gelling agents, fillers, preservatives, plant protein, and starch. Besides, this food meets AAFCO requirements.
4. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
This canned cat food is complete and balanced with essential minerals and vitamins to meet your cat’s daily nutritional needs. Additionally, this cat food has all-natural ingredients with no meat by-products, artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. It is an excellent source of proteins and fatty acids to meet the dietary needs of adult cats. Moreover, the food is free from growth hormones and steroids.
Furthermore, this food has blueberries and cranberries to promote a healthy urinary system for your furry baby. Also, it ensures that your kitty is hydrated due to the high moisture content in the food.
How Is Feline Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?
If your veterinarian suspects that your kitty could be having hyperthyroidism, they will draw some blood to conduct the tests. They will test the thyroid hormone levels together with a blood chemistry panel. If the tests show that there is an elevated level of the thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, then your cat has hyperthyroidism.
If feline hyperthyroidism is left untreated, the symptoms may get worse as the disease progresses. Therefore, it is important to see your vet immediately your kitty starts showing symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroid may expose your furry baby to other health conditions such as heart and kidney problems. Thus, it is crucial to evaluate your cat’s general health once they are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
Usually, your veterinarian will conduct more tests including urinalysis and radiographs to reveal the health condition of other organs. In most cases, feline hyperthyroidism may cause heart disease. Therefore, your kitty’s heart may appear bigger than normal on the x-ray and may also show abnormal activity on an ECG. However, after the successful treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats, the heart disease reverses.
Signs That Your Cat Has Hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Poor hair coat condition
- Increased heart rate
- Increased water consumption
- Diarrhea and vomiting
How Is Feline Hyperthyroidism Treated?
Your veterinarian may prescribe anti-thyroid drugs. These drugs help by reducing the amount of thyroid hormone produced and released by the thyroid gland. However, these drugs do not cure hyperthyroidism. Also, they are for long term use and your kitty may have to take them for the rest of her life. The major disadvantage of these drugs is that they can cause undesirable side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, anemia, and lethargy.
2. Through surgery
Surgical treatment of feline hyperthyroidism includes the removal of the thyroid glands. Therefore, this procedure requires that your kitty be put under general anesthesia. Thus, it is a risky procedure for senior cats and cats with other underlying medical conditions such as heart diseases. Additionally, cats undergoing this procedure are at a higher risk of having their parathyroid glands damaged.
3. Radioactive-Iodine Therapy
Radioactive-Iodine therapy is the most preferred treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism. The treatment is administered as an injection and is easily and quickly absorbed into the cat’s bloodstream. Then, once the iodine is absorbed, it destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue. Thus, it does not damage the parathyroid glands.
Additionally, this treatment is curative and has no adverse side effects. Also, it does not require anesthesia or surgery. However, the handling and administrations of the radioactive substance can only be done only by the licensed facilities.
4. Prescription diet for a cat with hyperthyroidism
Feline hyperthyroidism can be effectively managed through prescription diets. These prescription diets are iodine restricted.
For cats with hyperthyroidism, the iodine levels in their food should be limited. This is because reducing their iodine level intake limits the amount of the thyroid hormone produced. Hence, reducing the amount of the thyroid hormone in their bloodstream.
What Is The Best Food For A Cat With Hyperthyroidism?
A cat’s diet plays a major role in cats with hyperthyroidism. Since hyperthyroidism affects the cat’s metabolism, it causes the following issues.
1. Weight loss and loss of muscle mass
Weight loss is the most common sign of hyperthyroidism in cats. Cats with hyperthyroidism lose weight because the excess thyroxin hormone increases their metabolism rate and the energy requirements by their bodies. Therefore, the cat burns food calories faster than they consume leading to weight loss. Hence, you will find that your kitty has an increased appetite but is still losing weight.
Also, your cat’s muscle mass will decrease due to the high metabolism rate. This happens because the cat’s body starts to consume its muscle to get the protein it needs. Over time, weight loss and starvation may pose a great risk to your kitty’s health.
Read Also: The Best Canned Cat Food for Weight Gain
2. Hyperglycemia and diabetes
Feline hyperthyroidism may cause glucose intolerance and diabetes in cats. Regrettably, even if your cat goes through a successful hyperthyroidism treatment, the side effects of resistance to insulin may progress to develop diabetes even if your cat didn’t have it at the time of diagnosis.
However, loss of muscle mass in cats may be a result of old age even if the cat does not have hyperthyroidism. Also, senior cats may lose muscle mass because they are unable to digest proteins properly. Therefore, if your senior cat is losing weight and muscle mass, feed him kitten food that is high in proteins and easy to digest.
What to look for in the best food for a cat with hyperthyroidism
1. Food with high protein content
Cats are obligate carnivores. Therefore, all cats need a high level of protein in their diet. Additionally, since most cats with hyperthyroidism tend to lose weight and muscle mass, they need a high protein amount in their diets to maintain healthy and strong muscles.
2. Food with low carbohydrates content
Most hyperthyroid cats may develop diabetes. Therefore, they will need a diet low in carbohydrates to help stabilize their metabolism rate. Generally, most dry cat food tends to have a high carbohydrate level.
Therefore, you may need to switch your kitty’s diet from dry cat food to wet cat food that is high in protein levels and low in carbohydrates. Dietary management is important to ensure your cat lives a healthy life even with hyperthyroidism.
3. No soy
When buying food for a cat with hyperthyroidism, avoid food that has soy. Soy may affect the amount of the thyroid hormone produced. Therefore, to ensure that your kitty thyroid gland does not produce too much thyroid hormone, feed your cat with food that does not have soy in the ingredients.
Hyperthyroidism is a progressive condition and if left untreated, it may be fatal. Although changing your cat’s diet won’t cure your cat’s hyperthyroidism, it plays a great role in managing the symptoms associated with it. If your suspect your cat has hyperthyroidism, see your vet immediately and get the tests done. Starting the treatment early prevents the disease from progressing and becoming fatal to your cat.