Is there a diet to manage hyperthyroidism in cats?

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Feline hyperthyroidism is a condition in which a cat’s thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. It is caused by a benign tumor, and if left untreated it can lead to even more serious conditions such as heart or kidney failure.
Common symptoms include an increased appetite without weight gain, vomiting, diarrhea and increased vocalization. Feeding a cat with hyperthyroidism involves treating and managing these symptoms as you work toward a cure with your veterinarian.
In 2011, the first therapeutic diet designated to manage hypothyroidism in cats was created by Science Diet and it is called Y/D. This diet manages the iodine level in affected cats.
Discuss the Y/D diet and other dietary options with your veterinarian. Here are some for consideration:
• Use supplements like Bugleweed (lycopus) and lemon balm. According to, bugleweed has been used to treat hyperthyroidism because it decreases thyroid-stimulating hormones in the body. Lemon balm can reduce the thyroid output in your cat’s thyroid gland, restoring her health. Lemon balm comes in tincture or tea formula.
• Mix methimazole in her wet cat food. This is an anti-thyroid pill that reduces blood thyroid hormone levels, and must be given one to three times daily. This is a drug your veterinarian must prescribe, and it is a lifelong commitment. If you stop the medication, your cat’s high thyroid hormone levels will return.

• Give her a low-fat diet. Since cats with hyperthyroidism experience frequent vomiting and diarrhea, the low-fat diet can be easier on their already-sensitive stomachs. Feeding your cat small amounts of this food throughout the day (rather than leaving a bowl full out all day long) may also help your cat keep her food down and avoid vomiting.

• Make your own cat food. Some low-fat cat foods can be made at home. Use a combination of cooked chicken, liver, and rice with some vegetable oil and vitamin supplement powder (from your veterinarian or a pet supply store.)

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