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"Qato" - Cat with Feline Hyperthyroidism

When "Qato" was first presented at Fairfield with the classic symptoms of severe weight loss, despite "eating for England", it didn't take my colleagues too long to determine a definitive diagnosis of feline hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). As a consequence of this disease, the increased level of thyroid hormone markedly increases the metabolic rate and burns calories more quickly than they can be consumed. Sadly, this also has a very toxic effect on the heart which leads to eventual failure and death. Fortunately, in most cases, patients are successfully treated with lifelong tablet medication.

Whilst "Qato" initially cooperated with this strategy it didn't take him too long before he decided that he had had enough of this medical approach and expressed his feelings accordingly! Exasperated, his owners had a long discussion at Fairfield and opted for an altogether different approach.

"Qato" was transferred to Bristol Vet School where he was injected with radioactive iodine. (Iodine is used to create thyroid hormone within the thyroid gland). The build up of radioactive iodine then destroys the surrounding tissue, effectively curing this disease.

Whilst the levels of radiation were insufficient to allow "Qato" to glow in the dark he was hospitalised as a precautionary measure for several weeks to avoid any international nuclear incidents!

One year on, as his picture shows, "Qato" continues to thrive and is maintaining his weight and condition all too well.

Now, if only I could develop a touch of hyperthyroidism to see me through the festive season...

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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