Effects of dietary selenium and moisture on the physical activity and thyroid axis of cats

Hooper SE, Backus R, Amelon S.

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2018;102:495-504.

Consumption of canned cat food is considered a risk factor for the development of feline hyperthyroidism. Because selenium and water are substantially higher in canned diets compared to dry diets, objectives of this study were to determine whether increased dietary selenium or water alters the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and leads to an increase in activity level. Employing a 28-day latin square design with a 14-day washout, six lean, neutered male domestic shorthair cats were fed (i) commercially available adult dry feline diet containing 0.8 ppm selenium (control), (ii) control diet with added sodium selenite to achieve a dietary selenium concentration of 1.125 ppm (selenium treatment) and (iii) the control diet with additional water to achieve a moisture content of 75% wt/wt (water treatment). Water consumption was determined using deuterium oxide washout. Actical activity monitors were placed on each cat’s collar to allow quantification of the activity of each cat. Circulating serum T3 and T4 was measured on days 0, 14, and 28. On day 28, a thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test was conducted to determine treatment effects on serum concentrations of thyroid hormones. There was a significant increase in daily water consumption with dietary water treatment (192 ml +/- 7.85 SEM) compared to the control (120 ml +/- 20.4) and selenium (116 ml +/- 14.6) treatments. Both water and selenium treatments were associated with greater (p < .05) activity over that of the control treatment by 20.5% and 11% respectively. Serum TT3 AUC concentrations (0-4 hr) of TRH stimulation tests were greater (p < .05) by 16% with water compared to control treatments. The results of this study indicate that dietary water content may alter the function of the thyroid axis and that this effect is associated with an increase in physical activity.