Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) is a hormone disorder that occurs most commonly in older cats.
The signs of hyperthyroidism can vary tremendously. You may notice weight loss, hyperactivity or irritability. Cats may have episodes of decreased appetite followed by bouts of greatly increased food consumption. Heart irregularities are commonly seen as the condition worsens.
The "ravenous" appetite may contribute to your cat eating too quickly, vomiting, developing diarrhea, or having an increased number of bowel movements. Untreated, the disorder can weaken your cat and shorten his/her life.
The doctor will become suspicious of the overactive thyroid condition based on your observations and the results of the physical examination. A simple blood test is all that is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
The BEST treatment involves a very safe injection of a special radioactive medicine that helps to shut down the overactive gland. A 1-2 week boarding stay in the hospital is required. Although the treatment is not inexpensive, it is a one time cost and usually only one treatment is necessary with minimal follow-up care.
An alternative therapy requires twice daily oral medication (pills) for the remainder of your pet's life. This option is less expensive but does necessitate the inconvenience of a constant need to medicate your pet. Occasionally, these medications will have side effects (nausea, lethargy, anemia).
REMEMBER... even though your cat may be a "senior citizen", he/she can be cured of this life shortening disorder in a manner that will greatly improve the quality of his/her life.