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Feline hyperthyroidism: a common disorder with unknown pathogenesis
  1. Hans S. Kooistra, DVM, PhD, DipECVIM
  1. Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. e-mail: h.s.kooistra{at}

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HYPERTHYROIDISM is a well known endocrinopathy of middle-aged and elderly cats. Excess thyroid hormone is produced by adenomatous thyroid hyperplasia or adenoma, involving one or, more often, both thyroid lobes. Thyroid carcinoma, which is the main cause of hyperthyroidism in dogs, accounts for less than 5 per cent of cases in cats (Naan and others 2006). In an article summarised on p 458 of this issue of Veterinary Record, Stephens and others (2014) report on the prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism in primary care veterinary practices in England. The prevalence appeared to be 8.7 per cent in cats aged 10 years or over, indicating that, currently, hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disease in domestic cats.

Feline hyperthyroidism was first reported in 1979 by Peterson and others. In only a few decades the frequency with which hyperthyroidism was diagnosed increased enormously. Despite its high prevalence, the aetiology/pathogenesis of adenomatous thyroid hyperplasia in cats is still not clear. The condition resembles toxic nodular goitre (Plummer's disease) in humans. The thyroids of hyperthyroid cats …

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