What To Look For In Food For Cats With Hyperthyroidism
There is a lot of debate for the ideal diet for cats with hyperthyroidism. Evidence shows that domestic cats do best with foods that replicate the nutrient balance of a cats natural diet.
It is always ideal to stay away from cat food that contains fruits, vegetables, and/or grains. Foods either wet or dry should not contain too high carbohydrates and plant-based proteins.
Most importantly is to feed your cat a quality meat based protein source. Meat by-products are acceptable for carnivores being that they are simply protein sources such as organ meats and entrails that humans do not find appetizing.
Wet and canned cat foods that contain gravy tend to be high in carbs, so pates are a better choice.
Should You Feed Your Cat A Prescription Diet For Hyperthyroidism
Hills Prescription Diet y/d is the leading prescription cat food for hyperthyroidism. This food is extremely low in iodine, containing less than 0.32 ppm iodine on a dry matter basis.
In the paper linked above, the writer notes that as of 2011when the article was writtenall hyperthyroid cats managed with Hills Prescription Diet® y/d® Feline as the sole source of nutrition have become and remained euthyroid as long as the cat had no access to other sources of iodine.
A low-iodine diet cuts off the supply of iodine, slowing thyroid hormone synthesis. It does not fix an enlarged gland. It does not prevent an adenoma from changing into a carcinoma. It only reduces the symptoms.
Prescription Diets For Cats With Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can be managed through an iodine-restricted prescription diet, often without the use of other medical treatments. However, the effects of long-term iodine restriction on a cats health are still being studied.
Iodine levels in foods for cats with hyperthyroidism should be limited to 0.32 parts per million or less. The idea behind iodine restriction is this: since adequate iodine intake is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, strictly reducing iodine in the diet limits the amount of thyroid hormone that can be produced.
Hills Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care canned cat food is a commonly prescribed food that fits the above parameters. Its also available in a dry food versionHill’s Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care Original dry cat food.
It has been clinically proven that within three weeks of beginning this type of hyperthyroidism diet, levels of T4 thyroid hormones begin to decrease, and within a few months, they are often back to normal.
IMPORTANT: Cats who are being treated for hyperthyroidism with an iodine-restricted diet CANNOT be fed anything other than their prescription food.
This means absolutely no treats, no people food, and no scavenging or hunting. Any food other than the prescribed diet could ruin the careful balance of iodine intake necessary to improve hormone levels.
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What Do These Findings Mean To You And Your Cat
Clearly, more research is needed to definitively identify a connection between feline hyperthyroidism and cat food, but the research that has been done so far is enough to convince me to err on the side of caution when it comes to choosing cat food. Avoid foods containing soy protein, make sure the brand you feed uses BPA-free cans, and limit fish flavored foods to an occasional treat.
Photo by Kevin N. Murphy, Flickr Creative Commons
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Hill’s Prescription Diet Y/d Thyroid Care Original Dry Cat Food
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What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Hills Offer
Hills has several lines of cat food, including Hills Science Diet, Hills Prescription Diet, Hills Healthy Advantage, and Hills Ideal Balance.
- Science Diet emphasizes scientifically-formulated recipes that utilize what Hills describes as biology-based nutrition for all stages of cats lives.
- Hills Prescription Diet is only available with a veterinarians prescription. Recipes in this line target health conditions and special needs, including IBD, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, urinary tract health.
- Hills Healthy Advantage is exclusively sold through veterinarians. While Hills Prescription Diet foods target single health conditions, each food in this line addresses five essential health factorsimmunity, weight management, urinary health, digestion, and skin and coat health.
- The Ideal Balance line is made with natural ingredients and, according to Hills, is perfectly balanced.
How Much Does Hills Cat Food Cost
Hills cat food ranges from moderately-priced to expensive. If your cat weighs 10 lbs, it would cost roughly $3.05 per day to feed them Hills Prescription Diet c/d canned food and about $3.63 for Hills Ideal Balance canned.
Like most cat food companies, Hills charges less for their dry foods. The Hills Prescription diet kibble mentioned in the product reviews above would cost about $0.52 per day.
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Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism In 2022 Reviews & Top Picks
Hyperthyroidism is a serious condition that negatively impacts a cats health. Unfortunately, it is the most common endocrine
disorder in older cats and has been known to occur in about 10% of cats that are 10 years or older. The more common symptoms are an increase in thirst, urination, and appetite, as well as weight loss.
If you know that your cat has hyperthyroidism, you probably have already seen your vet in order to have this disease properly treated. Treatment usually includes medication, radioactive iodine therapy, and an adjustment to your cats diet. The most important part of a diet for a cat with hyperthyroidism is food that is low in iodine. Restricting iodine in a cats diet will help reduce the thyroid from producing the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, the excess of which being what causes hyperthyroidism.
The following reviews are for food that has little to no iodine and can be fed exclusively to your cat.
Therapeutic Hyperthyroid Diet Safe For Cats
Q: One of my cats is hyperthyroid, and Im thinking of treating her disease without medication, by feeding Hills y/d, a prescription low-iodine diet. It would be easiest for me to feed all my cats the same food. Is y/d safe for cats that are not hyperthyroid?
A: Yes. Hills y/d contains a reduced but adequate amount of iodine, an important component of thyroid hormone, so even healthy cats that eat y/d produce normal levels of the hormone.
When cats with hyperthyroidism eat a conventional diet, one with abundant iodine, they produce too much thyroid hormone. Treatment options include y/d, a single dose of radioactive iodine, surgery, or a daily medication called methimazole, which can be given orally or applied to the skin.
A recent study evaluated thyroid function over a two-year period in 14 healthy cats fed the limited-iodine diet and 12 healthy cats fed a conventional diet. The cats were young and had normal thyroid function at the start of the study.
Every six months, researchers performed a full panel of blood work, urinalysis, thyroid hormone levels and thyroid ultrasound. They found that all the catsincluding those eating the limited-iodine dietmaintained normal thyroid size and function. So, you can feel confident feeding y/d to your entire cat family.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at .
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Hyperthyroid Cats Need Highly
Hyperthyroid cats have two things working against them when it comes to maintaining muscle mass. First, they have an overactive metabolism, and secondly, most of them are seniors.
New research suggests that seniors have high protein and energy needssimilar to the needs of kittens. When these needs arent met, they lose muscle.
Choose foods composed of over 50% calories from protein. The best protein sources are species-appropriate and highly digestible. Your cat requires meat-based food with no high-protein fillers like pea protein, potato protein, wheat gluten, and corn gluten meal.
May Not Be An Ideal Diet For Cats
The dry y/d® contains no meat. Cats are obligate carnivores, raising the question, is this adequate for their needs?
Per Hills, the protein is supplied by corn gluten meal and eggs. Animal protein apparently contains too much iodine. The canned formula includes more meat , so would be the better choice of the two. Hills compares the protein content of y/d® to that in g/d®, which is moderately protein-restricted. It is not likely to provide enough protein for thin cats recovering from hyperthyroid malnutrition, and not low enough for cats in later stages of renal failure. We do not recommend protein-restricting debilitated carnivores unless they are in moderately azotemic renal failure.
Is iodine deficient
Iodine is a required nutrient for a reason. We do not know what impact iodine deficiency will have long term upon either normal or hyperthyroid cats.
May be impractical in a multiple cat household
y/d® cannot be fed exclusively to normal cats
y/d® must be fed exclusively to the hyperthyroidcat in order to achieve significant lowering of thyroid hormone levels. Even minute levels of iodine from other sources can diminish the effectiveness of the diet.
Therefore, feedings for cats in a multiple cat household should be separate.
Hills® allows that normal cats may eat y/d® if supplemented with maintenance cats foods. Even so, feeding y/d® to an entire household could be cost prohibitive, increasing the food cost by hundreds of dollars per cat per year.
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What Do Customers Think Of Hills Cat Food
Hills is one of the most respected brands in the pet food industry. Its a staple in veterinary offices and animal shelters. The fact of the brands esteem has attracted some of its most vehement criticism. As we saw in the 2019 lawsuit initiated by a Kansas consumer, some feel that Hills food is given more respect than it deserves and uses that reputation to justify its high prices.
How Will I Know If My Cat Has An Overactive Thyroid
The thyroid glands in your cats neck produce a hormone called thyroxine, which helps the kidneys, liver, brain and digestive system to function well. If your pets thyroid glands produce too much thyroxine, her metabolism will speed up, which can make her either hyperactive or sluggish. This is called hyperthyroidism. Although this condition can affect cats of any age, its more common in older pets.
If your cat has an overactive thyroid she could appear anxious and agitated, and may spend a lot of time dashing around in an unexpected way. Your cat may also want to eat and drink more, however, as the condition can make it harder for her body to absorb nutrients, her coat might look dull and unkempt. You might also notice your cat being more vocal than usual, and possibly panting. Diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss can also be signs.
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Dont Feed Your Cat Soy
When researchers gave 18 healthy adult cats either a soy or soy-free diet for three months, they found that the cats who ate a soy diet ended the study with significantly higher total thyroxine and free T4 concentrations, but unchanged total triiodothyronine concentrations.
The soy-based diet had a small, but significant effect on the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the body.
What Is The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism
When a cat has hyperthyroidism, his body produces too much thyroid hormone. This sends the metabolism into overdrive, burning up fuel faster than your cat can take it in. As a result, you get a hungry, skinny, and overactive cat.
The central nervous system, GI system, heart, liver, and other organs become overworked and overtired.
The best food for hyperthyroidism either controls the release of thyroid hormones or helps to counteract an overactive metabolism.
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Most Fish Is Contaminated With Toxins Including Pbdes
These fire retardant chemicals were extremely popular in the late 1970s and were used to treat everything from pajamas to curtains. Because theyre known endocrine disruptors, PBDEs were essentially phased out in the United States and European Union during the early 2000s. That doesnt mean theyre not still everywhere. These toxins linger in soil, dust, waterways, human bodies, and the ocean theyre present in cans of fish-based food.
Hyperthyroid cats have higher levels of PBDEs in their bloodstream than do healthy ones.
Diagnosing Hyperthyroidism In Cats
If your cat is showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism, a visit to their veterinarian is warranted. The vet will perform a physical examination and obtain your cat’s history before recommending blood screening be performed. Sometimes, enlarged thyroid glands can be detected during the physical exam. The blood screening will look at how well your cat’s organs are functioning as well as measure how much thyroid hormone is being produced by your cat’s thyroid glands. If these hormone levels are high, your cat will be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Other tests may be recommended as well to look for common complications seen with hyperthyroidism, like high blood pressure.
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Hills Science Diet Adult 11+ Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food
- Contains grains
- Carbohydrates on the high side
Hills Science Diet Adult 11+ Age Defying Dry Cat Food is made with wholesome ingredients such as chicken, to promote kidney and joint health, and aid in a healthy immune system.
This cat food is manufactured in the United States, and every ingredient meets strict requirements for purity and nutrient content which exceed industry standards.
This recipe is formulated for adult cats 11 years of age and older, and is a high protein meal. It is great for indoor cats and those with health issues as well.
Treatment: The Importance Of Nutrition
The food your cat eats plays an important role in her overall health and well-being. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your cats thyroid health.
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Buyers Guide: Picking The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism
Feeding a cat with hyperthyroidism can be tricky. There are different kinds of foods that they should get depending on their stage of the disease and whether they are on the road to recovery. What might not be suitable for them at some points might end up being necessary at others.
It is also essential to consider the subsidiary diseases that your cat might suffer from as a result of a defunct thyroid, such as kidney failure. This brings in an entirely new gamut of dietary concerns.
If you are struggling to figure out how to feed your cat, here is a brief buyers guide to help point you in the right direction. With something like this life-threatening disease, though, it is always best to talk to your veterinarian.
How Does It Work
Just follow these four easy steps…
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Risk Factors For Hyperthyroidism In Cats
While no specific cat breed has a definitively higher risk for developing hyperthyroidism than another, any cat senior is at a greater risk for the disease. Some studies suggest that cats that eat mostly canned food, especially fish-based canned food, are at increased risk. One study showed that longhaired, non-purebred cats have a higher risk of developing the disease while Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Persians, Abyssinians, and British shorthairs have a decreased risk when compared to domestic shorthairs.
More information is needed to continue to help cat owners and hopefully one day be able to prevent hyperthyroidism in all cats.
Crossley VJ, Debnath A, Chang YM, Fowkes RC, Elliott J, Syme HM. Breed, Coat Color, and Hair Length as Risk Factors for Hyperthyroidism in Cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2017 31:1028-1034. doi:10.1111/jvim.14737