Despite advanced in modern medicine, there are still many unknowns. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, among many others, eludes researchers.
And, so it is with feline hyperthyroidism. While the condition is anything but uncommon, and
successful treatment is available, we still don’t know why cats have begun to suffer from it since the first patient was diagnosed in 1979.
Theories abound, and are based mostly on observations made of affected cats. We have listed them below, along with the reason the item is on the list, parenthetically, where one is available.
- litterbox use (cats have increasingly been kept indoors in the last century, as in this one)
- sleeping on carpet (also an activity of mostly-indoor cats)
- increasing years exposed to gas fireplaces
- exposure to polybrominated flame retardants (the use of which also increased dramatically in the 1970s)
- consumption of soy isoflavones (a common ingredient in cat foods as well as a commonly-used human dietary supplement)
- incidental consumption of bisphenol-A in foods (also called BPA, it is a component of plastic manufacturing [think food and water bowls] and has been banned from use in plastic baby bottles in some states and municipalities)
- preference for canned foods or canned food comprises more than 50% of diet
- exposure to lawn or flea control products
- fed baby food as a kitten or as a treat
- increasing frequency of carpet cleaning
- increasing years exposed to well water (cats are living longer)
- fed foods that lack iodine supplementation at label ingredient stated levels
- fish in diet
- giblet-flavored foods
- absence of deworming medication (with the increasing use of Revolution and other heartworm preventive medications this has become less of a consideration)
- increasing age (again, cats are living longer, yet feline hyperthyroidism has been diagnosed at age three)
Someday we may look back and marvel at many of the items on this list. We may also say, “Maybe I shouldn’t have scoffed when I read that one.”
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.
MyPetsDoctor.com thanks Hill’s Pet Nutrition for contributing to this list. MMHT4