AAFP releases guidelines on feline hyperthyroidism

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The American Association of Feline Practitioners has released new Guidelines for the Management of Feline Hyperthyroidism, which appeared in the May edition of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

“Our hope is that by using these guidelines, veterinary professionals will be able to diagnose FHT long before the cat becomes the classic scrawny, unkempt patient with a mass on its neck,” said Dr. Cynthia Ward, co-chair of the panel of authors.

Guidelines coverAccording to the guidelines, 1.5 to 11.4 percent of older cats around the world have hyperthyroidism; it is the most common endocrine disorder in middle-aged and older cats in the United States.

The guidelines state their scope as follows:

The Guidelines explain FHT as a primary disease process with compounding factors, and provide a concise explanation of what we know to be true about the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease.

The Guidelines also:

  • Distill the current research literature into simple recommendations for testing sequences that will avoid misdiagnosis and separate an FHT diagnosis into six clinical categories with associated management strategies.
  • Emphasize the importance of treating all hyperthyroid cats, regardless of comorbidities, and outline the currently available treatments for the disease.
  • Explain how to monitor the treated cat to help avoid exacerbating comorbid diseases.
  • Dispel some of the myths surrounding certain aspects of FHT and replace them with an evidence-based narrative that veterinarians and their practice teams can apply to feline patients and communicate to their owners.

A supplementary brochure and a client handout also are available. The brochure outlines clinical signs of FHT, diagnosis, management and treatment options, and management goals.

The guidelines and client materials are here.