Current Throughts on the Pathogenesis of Feline Hyperthyroidism

Ward C.R.

Conference Proceedings, (2011). American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine: p.500


Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrinopathy in cats, affecting a large percentage of middle to older aged cats in the U.S. Since its recognition as a clinical entity some 20 years ago, it has been diagnosed with increasing frequency; however, the pathogenesis of the disease is not currently understood. Recent studies into molecular, environmental, and nutritional causes of this disease have resulted in new thoughts regarding the pathogenesis.

Feline hyperthyroidism most often results from benign adenomatous hyperplasia of the thyroid . It is clinically and pathologically similar to toxic nodular goiter or Plummer’s disease in humans. Interestingly, most cats have bilateral disease. Although it has been a clinical entity for years in the United States, it is emerging as a significant disease in other countries thus stimulating further interest in the etiology. Because of its impact on feline health and similarity to human disease, study into the nutritional, cellular, and molecular mechanisms of feline hyperthyroid diseases will be important to our understanding of this disease and other hyperfunctioning endocrine diseases.