Your cat looses weight. Is it normal?
“People often think that because an animal is getting older, that it’s normal for them to lose weight. However, they could be missing some signs of pathology.”
When we consulted Dr. Christine Mailloux, a veterinarian at the Clinique vétérinaire du Quartier, in Montréal, about cats who have visibly lost weight, missing signs of a condition or disease is the first thing she mentioned. She spoke of hyperthyroidism, which usually affects cats that are eight years old and older.
Of course, weight loss may be due to another condition, but hyperthyroidism is often an important factor. Your cat may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- They lose weight even if they eat more than ever;
- They drink more and urinate more frequently than usual;
- They vomit often and have diarrhea;
- They are aging, but still seem nervous and hyperactive.
It should also be noted that hyperthyroidism carries many, more serious problems along with it. In some cases, for example, detaching of the retina has been observed. In other instances, we might diagnose a heart murmur and hypertension. Furthermore, as the condition progresses, it can lead to all kinds of other problems, including kidney complications.
The case of hyperthyroidism perfectly illustrates the importance of annual check-ups, particularly in aging cats. And don’t forget that a year for a cat is like four years for a human. But that just means that an eight-year-old cat still has half its life left to live (considering that cat can often live for sixteen years and more). And it’s entirely possible to prevent the occurrence of problems such as those related to the thyroid gland. Above all, we can certainly avoid complications that can extend to other organs. Some more good news: hyperthyroidism responds well to treatment.
During the check-up, your vet will take some blood tests. If your cat is over eight years old, your vet will establish a geriatric profile, which includes analyses of the thyroid gland.
Diets low in iodine are part of the range of treatments available to treat hyperthyroidism, but there are others as well. Radioactive iodine, for example, has proven remarkably effective as a long-term treatment. Your vet may also prescribe antithyroid medication.
The best way to treat illness is to prevent it in the first place. An annual check up at your vet can help you avoid all that worry.