What Is The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism
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In humans, the thyroid gland sits in the lower front of the neck. It is part of the adrenal system that secrets hormones which help regulate essential bodily functions like metabolism, growth, and body temperature. Unlike humans, cats have two thyroid glands. They too are located in the neck and play a role in regulating the metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid glands produce too much thyroid hormone which results in an increased metabolic rate. Most commonly seen in older cats, hyperthyroidism can lead to increased appetite and unexplained weight loss.
Here are some of the primary symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats:
- Increased appetite
- Increased shedding
- Diarrhea or vomiting
Because the thyroid glands regulate metabolic rate, hyperthyroidism has an impact on several organs including the heart. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to two heart-related complications: hypertension and thyrotoxic cardiomyopathy.
Hypertension is just another name for high blood pressure and, in some cases it is mild. For cats with hyperthyroidism, however, there is a risk that the blood pressure will become so high that it affects the eyes and may cause retinal bleeding or detachment, resulting in blindness. Thyrotoxic cardiomyopathy is a specific form of heart disease which occurs when the heart muscle enlarges and thickens to meet the increased metabolic demands. This can lead to the development of a heart murmur.
Reduce Iodine In Your Cats Diet
Recently, an iodine-depleted diet, available only by prescription, has been developed for cats with hyperthyroidism. Indeed, an iodine intake is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Therefore, by reducing the levels of iodine in food, you can limit the number of thyroid hormones produced by the animal.
Usually, a cats body begins to decrease its production of thyroid hormones as early as the third week of this diet. And that production may return to normal after a few months.
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. 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 with over 50% of calories from protein. The best protein sources are species-appropriate and highly digestible. As an obligate carnivore, your cat requires meat-based food with no high-protein fillers like pea protein, potato protein, wheat gluten, and corn gluten meal.
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Even The Best Cat Food For Is No Substitute For Radioiodine Treatment Thyroidectomy Or Medication
Prescription or not, food is not a cure for hyperthyroidism. Hills Pet Nutritions y/d prescription diet is revolutionary in its ability to reduce disease symptoms, but its not a complete solution to thyroid disease.
Likewise, a good old-fashioned diet can help your cat maintain or regain muscle mass, but it will do nothing to put out the hyperthyroid fire. Hyperthyroidism is a progressive and eventually fatal condition, so its vital to explore other treatment routes in addition to giving your cat the best food you can find.
Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain
Growing kittens need a protein-rich recipe to help them grow and develop. In their old age, cats need the same thing plenty of protein to help them maintain that muscle mass. This Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food is a good option for cats of all ages, including cats recovering from hyperthyroidism, because it is a rich source of animal protein with plenty of healthy fats and calories. Turkey, chicken, and turkey liver are the first three ingredients followed by turkey broth and fresh turkey for additional protein and moisture. This recipe is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids but is still complete and balanced to ensure your cats optimal nutrition.
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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Taste Of The Wild Canyon River Grain
Most Popular Cat Food for Hyperthyroidism: With so many different cat foods out there, it can be difficult to make a choice. In fact, there are many brands that come highly recommended from pet nutrition experts. If youre wondering what cat owners thinks, however, you might be happy with a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. We recommend this Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Canned Food for cats recovering from hyperthyroidism because it is rich in both animal protein and fat in addition to being complete and nutritionally balanced. The main ingredient is fresh trout with both fish broth and vegetable broth as flavorful sources of moisture, increasing the moisture content to 82%. This formula contains several protein sources with digestible grain-free carbohydrates like potato, carrots, and sweet potato. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients, this recipe is fortified with vitamins and chelated minerals to help your cat regain his health and optimal wellness from quality nutrition.
Pros: High quality natural ingredients, real animal protein, rich in moisture , fresh fruits and vegetables, fortified with vitamins and chelated minerals
Cons: Could be higher in fat and calories, main source of fat is plant-based
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What Should I Feed My Hyperthyroid Cat
The concept that diet contributes to health has been around for almost 2 centuries. In 1826 the french lawyer and politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin coined the aphorism: Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are. A few decades later, in an essay titled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism in 1863, the german philosopher and anthropologist Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote: “man is what he eats. Promotion of the concept in the english language awaited the publication of You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet” by Victor Lindlahr the creator of the catabolic diet, in 1942. In 1990, even Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, weighed in with his support for the concept.
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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My Cat Is Losing Weight Even Though She Eats Well What Could Be The Problem
Is your older cat high-strung? Does she lose weight but eat a lot? She may have an overactive thyroid. Older cats sometimes begin producing too much thyroid hormone. Its a condition called feline hyperthyroidism. Veterinarians dont know what causes it, but it speeds up the cats metabolism, causing a gradual weight loss and hyperactivity. In fact, hyperthyroid kitties are sometimes so high-strung, it can seem as if theyve had a few too many cups of coffee! They will also drink and urinate a lot, and may lose hair, vomit or have a goiter or thyroid nodule.
If your cat displays any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. A blood test can detect the disease, and with appropriate treatment, a cat with hyperthyroidism can live a normal life.
Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism In 2022
As cats get older, they tend to become less active and may not eat as much. Over time, you may even notice weight loss and loss of muscle mass. Before you just write these symptoms off as normal for an older cat, take a moment to learn about a condition that commonly affects cats 12 years and older its called hyperthyroidism.
- Rich in real animal protein
- Blend of omega-3
Unexplained weight loss, increased thirst, and poor coat condition are all potential signs of hyperthyroidism. Before you panic and rush your cat to the vet, know that hyperthyroidism is a serious condition, but it is also very treatable and is completely curable in most cases. Dont delay in seeking treatment for your cat because he could develop serious complications but rest easy knowing that there is a highly effective form of treatment that could cure your cat in as little as one to two weeks. Add to that a high-protein, energy-rich diet and your cat will be good as new in no time.
In this article, well explore the subject of hyperthyroidism in cats to determine the most common symptoms, underlying causes, and best forms of treatment. Youll also learn about the link between hyperthyroidism and diet to help you choose a better cat food for your feline friend. Finally, youll see reviews of our top picks for the best cat food for thyroid problems.
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Dry Food The Good The Bad And The Ugly
Lets face it, dry cat foods are convenient to feed. They require virtually zero preparation or presentation time investment. Allowing your cat to free feed on dry food is much less likely to lead to ant or other pest infestation than leaving out canned food. And of course we have all heard the argument that the abrasive nature of dry food is good for dental hygiene suggesting that allowing your cat to crunch on dry kibble is the next best thing to brushing your cats teeth. For those concerned about feeding grains in cat food, and we should all be in this category, there are a number of brands that offer grain-free dry cat foods. Finally, there are many cats who really seem to enjoy dry food much more than canned food. Unfortunately, despite all of these apparent reasons to recommend them, dry cat foods are absolutely the wrong choice for virtually every cat.
Dietary carbohydrates represent a readily available source of the sugars that nourish the bacteria that live in our mouths and produce the acids that contribute to dental decay. As it turns out, dental caries simply do not develop in the absence of fermentable carbohydrates in the diet.
Take away message: To avoid inappropriate carbohydrate intake, optimize hydration for kidney health and reduce the risk of dental disease, feed a wet food diet with limited carbohydrate content .
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.
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Prescription Diets Not Necessarily What The Doctor Ordered
Since the early 1980s Donald Strombeck, DVM, PhD recognized the direct link between many of our dogs and cats gastrointestinal problems and the commercial diets they were being fed. In the first edition of his book entitled Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative Strombeck acknowledged that many cases of diarrhea in pets are directly related to the contamination of the diets with bacteria or inadequate cooking of those diets with significant carbohydrate content. Copies of the 1st edition of Stombecks book are still available from sources like and , but the contents of that book have also been made available online at Dr. Stombecks web site.
While many cats may become ill eating commercial cat foods contaminated with bacteria or containing inadequately cooked carbohydrates, these cats represent the minority of cats harmed by eating commercial diets. Most commercially available cat foods cause problems in the cats that eat them due to their use of improper ingredients including their reliance on excessive carbohydrate content, their use of plant based proteins and the marginal dehydration induced by feeding dry diets.
Take away message: Consider the value of feeding meat based diets with low carbohydrate and relatively high water content as a potential alternative to prescription diets designed to achieve similar results.
Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain
- Many cats refuse to eat
- Does contain by vegetable forms
Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food was created to closely mirror the benefits of a raw diet in cats. It has the highest levels of protein from real meat with absolutely no animal meal.
It includes guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics, natural omegas, vitamin e and antioxidants that all cats need.
This dry cat food is a protein-rich kibble thats highly digestible and great for skin, coat, and immune systems which is beneficial for cats with health conditions.
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The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Rich In Highly
Hyperthyroid or not, senior cats need more protein and calories than they did in middle age. In fact, senior cats may need as much protein as growing kittens. Without enough protein to satisfy that elevated metabolism, cats muscles weaken and deteriorate. Hyperthyroidism turns that metabolic fire into an inferno and emaciation is almost inevitable.
Ideally, a hyperthyroid cat should eat a diet composed of 50% or more calories from protein.
Protein sources should be high-quality and highly-digestible. Generally, this means its best to avoid animal, poultry, and fish by-products along with any high-protein plant ingredients like corn gluten meal and pea protein.
What To Look For In A Good Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism
If your veterinarian recommends an iodine-restricted diet for your cat, you may need to feed him a prescription diet. The only product currently available on Chewy is Hills Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care which comes in both a dry food and a canned food recipe. This formula is designed specifically for cats with thyroid problems but keep in mind that it does contain by-products as well as corn-based ingredients. We cannot recommend it as a high-quality cat food, but it may support your cats thyroid treatment if your veterinarian recommends it.
If youre simply looking for a cat food to help your cat regain weight and muscle mass for improved health during hyperthyroidism treatment, here are some of the things to look for:
Once your cat has regained its weight and muscle mass, you may want to reduce the amount you feed him to prevent unhealthy weight gain. As long as his thyroid hormone levels have normalized, you can resume normal feeding with a healthy and balanced diet. If your cat has concurrent kidney problems resulting from the hyperthyroidism, you may want to look for more moderate levels of protein and ask your veterinarian about other dietary factors to support his treatment.
Now that you have a better understanding of hyperthyroidism in cats and the role diet may play in your cats treatment, youre ready to start shopping. If you need additional guidance, check out our top picks below but read how we make our recommendations first.
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The Carnivore Connection To Nutrition In Cats
While there are numerous papers discussing the connection between feline nutrition and health, few are as good as “The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats” by Dr. Debra L. Zoran of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A& M University. In this article Dr. Zoran notes that “although cats have adjusted to most manufactured diets, the limitations of substituting animal-origin nutrients with plant-origin nutrients in foods formulated for cats are being increasingly realized.1 In this same article Dr. Zoran points out how diets with inappropriate amounts of carbohydrates and plant based protein are likely responsible for obesity, hepatic lipidosis , inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes in cats.
How Do We Make Our Recommendations
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they have a biological requirement for a high-protein diet. In the wild, cats only consume plant matter in the stomach contents of their prey. Keeping these dietary requirements in mind, we only recommend cat foods that are rich in animal protein with limited carbohydrate ingredients. We prioritize recipes that contain a real source of animal protein as the first ingredient that is also rich in animal-based fats, with limited content of digestible carbohydrates . Complete and balanced nutrition is essential as well, so we also look for recipes fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are some of the requirements for a cat food to receive our recommendation:
- A source of high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- At least 30% crude protein for kittens and at least 26% for adults
- A minimum of 9% crude fat for kittens and adults
- A balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, primarily from animal sources
- A rich blend of nutrients from natural sources and supplements, as needed
- Limited carbohydrate content from digestible sources
- No low-quality fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
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