Best Food Choices for Hyperthyroid Cats | Nourishing Kitty
There are a couple likely environmental factors that have led to this epidemic. Firstly, multiple studies have been done that have pointed to certain cat foods as risk factors for developing hyperthyroidism. The food offenders included fish for their high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are a known endocrine and thyroid disruptor commonly found in fire retardant furniture, carpet and dust. Also referenced in the studies were known endocrine disruptors Bisphenol A (BPA) which is used to line some cans of cat food, and soy, which is a prevalent ingredient in many types of cat food.
Humans are more than aware that soy, BPA and the PBDEs found in high concentrations fish are hormonal disruptors in our own systems. Some of these chemicals may be banned from human consumption in the United States, but are still widely used and imported in pet food. Even the FDA warns us, especially women of child bearing age and children, against consuming these same ingredients included in cat food.
Another potential contributing factor to feline hyperthyroidism is iodine levels in food. Iodine is necessary for the thyroid to work properly, yet the levels of iodine in cat food widely vary. Iodine is highly prevalent in seafood, and too much iodine could result in an overactive thyroid. The pet food industry has acknowledged the correlation between iodine levels and hyperthyroidism in cats and many manufacturers have introduced low iodine prescription diets.
Hi, I’m Vera. I live out in the country and have nine cats. Three brothers, Norwegian Wood Cats who will be six years old this winter, and six rescue kitties. Hector, one of the Norwegian’s has a large frame and has more Persian tendencies than his brothers. He worried me from day one. His chest is narrow and he wheezes when he breathes. The vet told me not to worry about it, that he would be fine. (My cats get their shots every year – that they need them and are fixed.) He has been losing weight gradually since last summer. I know that cats don’t show symptoms of being sick until they are really ill. Because of that, we have been very worried about him! He appears to be healthy, likes to play, and wants to eat everything in sight. I can’t afford to take him to the vet right now because I don’t currently have a full-time job. I feed him Nine Lives dry cat food – Daily Essentials because it does not have kelp in it, and has taurine. Not very happy with the protein levels in it, though. We were feeding Hector a can of tuna a day, but just realized that the iodine is probably making his condition worse! I guess I could feed him some chicken. . . raw or cooked? What do I need to do?
No. If your cat eats other food or treats then they will be getting a normal level of iodine and then the enlarged thyroid gland will be able to overproduce thyroid hormone again.One solution is to feed older felines special food that contains lower levels of iodine than does regular cat food. Current research shows that keeping a feline on this kind of diet can reduce the need for medical intervention if not completely eliminate hyperthyroidism entirely. A few companies are starting to make dietary products with restricted iodine levels. But it’s important to remember that this kind of food is sold by prescription only since it would harm kittens or pregnant cats.So far in Hill's studies of up to 2 years, they have not found any negative consequences of feeding an iodine reduced diet to normal cats. In fact, some people believe that all cats should be fed a reduced iodine diet. It's possible that the recommendation for iodine levels in cat food is actually too high. Veterinarians had recently begun managing feline hyperthyroidism with nutrition, using a pet food formally launched in October 2011, Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health. The food limits dietary iodine intake, and the staff was finding that in the majority of cats, thyroid levels returned to normal within three weeks of transitioning to the food.What happpened? Why was there such an explosion of hyperthyroidism in cats over the last 30 years? The answer in part may be found in the iodine levels of cat foods. Iodine levels in cat food were found to be very high in the 1980′s corresponding to the time when the first cases of hyperthyroidism were reported. As iodine is a key component in thyroid hormone, the recommendations at that time were to lower iodine levels in the food.Diet - Hill's Y/D prescription diet is a severely Iodine restricted diet that effectively lowers thyroid hormone levels in cats that are fed only that diet. Other cats in the household that are not hyperthyroid can also eat Y/D if they are given regular cat food once a week to keep their Iodine levels up.