Hyperthyroidism in cats is a well known and documented condition which usually manifests with signs such as, but not limited to, change of demeanour i.e. more irritable state and sometimes aggression, eating more than usual, and weight loss in spite of eating more.
Briefly, this condition is the result of producing more than normal thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. This causes accelerated metabolism and related problems.
So far, the traditional treatment of the condition has been through using specific medication in form of tablets. However, the medically preferred choice of treatment has been, and still remains to be, the use of iodine 131 at a referral centre.
Recently, an alternative choice of treating this condition has been introduced by use of a certain dietary change to a very specific food. This food is a prescription diet and is available only through veterinary clinics and the obvious reason for it is that the use of this diet must be under direct supervision of a veterinarian.
The name of this food is y/d and is produced by Hill’s.
Although there is limited experience with this food among veterinarians, it seems to be a promising method of treatment. The cat will be transitioned to this food and will not be allowed to consume any other food or treats but the diet after the transition period, usually one week. Even the food dish from the previous food must be replaced by a brand new one to enhance the efficacy of the treatment, once 100% on the new diet.
This treatment, if applied properly, usually maintains the thyroid hormone levels somewhere in the middle of the normal range and usually is not capable of lowering the hormone level too much. This particular characteristic of this diet is especially of great interest to me as a clinician when I am treating old cats with hyperthyroidism who may also be prone to kidney disease. If I could put it in simple terms, many cats with hyperthyroidism are predisposed to kidney disease if the level of thyroid hormone is reduced drastically. So, I wish the levels to be maintained in a mid range so the kidney disease is prevented as much as possible.
Please call us for more details, if you have a cat with this condition or similar signs, or if you are interested in more information, remember, we are here to help!!!
All the best,
Dr. Dave Bonab