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If your adult cat suddenly begins to lose weight despite a voracious appetite, he may have a hormone problem,
specifically the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. You should probably get your pet to a veterinarian to
be checked for feline hyperthyroidism.
Feline hyperthyroidism has become a widely recognized disorder in cats. It is caused by an unregulated
overproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid glands, which is usually related to a benign enlargement
(growth or tumor) of one or both thyroid lobes. This enlargement of the thyroid gland(s) is referred to as thyroid
adenoma or thyroid adenomatous goiter. It is unknown what causes the thyroid to become enlarged.
The thyroid gland consists of two flat lobes shaped like a butterfly and located on either side of the trachea, or
windpipe, just below the voice box. These lobes are flattened and cannot be easily palpated.
The thyroid gland acts as the thermostat for the metabolic rate of the body, controlling how fast or slow the
body functions. Hyperthyroidism can have effects on multiple organ systems, since the increased thyroid
hormone levels increase the cat's metabolic rate.
Although this disease is usually diagnosed in older cats (at least 9 years of age), it has been diagnosed in cats as
young as 6 years of age. There is no recognized breed or sex predilection for this disease.
What to Watch For
Weight loss in spite of an increased appetite
Increased activity levels or irritability