Diagnosis – Clinical examination

The clinical signs of feline hyperthyroidism may overlap with those of CKD, diabetes mellitus and intestinal disease (e.g. lymphoma). Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is based on history, physical examination, routine laboratory tests and thyroid function tests.

Physical examination findings

  • Underweight – despite a good to voracious appetite
  • Poor body condition – including an unkempt coat and thickened nails
  • Palpable thyroid nodules on one or both sides of the trachea
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities – tachycardia, gallop rhythm, systolic murmur
  • Agitated fractious cat – easily stressed and difficult to handle

A cat with hyperthyroidism might be aggressive and difficult to handle

In many cases an enlarged thyroid gland is palpable or even visible.
Photographs: Courtesy of Dr Hans Kooistra, Utrecht University