Clinical and laboratorial evaluation of hyperthyroid domestic cats with or without palpable thyroid gland

Vanessa P. de Faria Katia B. Corgozinho Lio Moreira Ana M.R. Ferreira Heloisa J.M. de Souza About the authors

Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of older cats. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, the identification of a subclinical stage is essential in order to have a better control of the disease. The present study was a survey of the frequency of feline hyperthyroidism in Rio de Janeiro, from March, 2007 to April, 2008. The purpose of this study was to perform an evaluation of the clinical, laboratorial and echocardiographic aspects in a feline population of naturally acquired hyperthyroidism, with or without palpable thyroid gland. The selection of the cats was done by the documentation of an elevation of total thyroxine (TT4) levels by radioimmunoassay. The animals were divided in two groups according to the thyroid palpation: group I (non-palpable thyroid lobe) and group II (palpable thyroid lobe). Laboratorial and complete clinical evaluations were performed in all cats. The clinical evaluation included behavioral evaluation, body weight, body condition, dermatologic, cardiopulmonary auscultation, thyroid palpation and systolic blood pressure reading. Besides the TT4, the following exams were performed: urea, creatinine, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and glucose. Thirty one cats had an echocardiogram performed. On the basis of TT4 concentrations, 51 of the 178 cats were classified as hyperthyroid. One or more enlarged thyroid glands were palpated in 25 of the 51 hyperthyroid cats and were included at Group II. Twenty six cats didn't palpable thyroid gland and were included at Group I. Clinical, laboratorial and echocardiographic parameters were similar between the two groups. However, the TT4 levels were significantly lower in the non-palpable thyroid group. All geriatric cats must be thyroid gland palpable on clinic examination and have TT4 measured. Many hyperthyroid cats may be asymptomatic and early diagnosis prevents organ damage such as liver, kidneys and heart.

Feline; hyperthyroidism; thyroid palpation; total thyroxine


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