Worldwide prevalence and risk factors for feline hyperthyroidism: A review

J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2014 Nov 14;85(1):1097. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v85i1.1097.


Since first reported in the late 1970s, there has been a steady but dramatic increase in the worldwide prevalence of hyperthyroidism in cats. It is now regarded as the most common feline endocrine disorder, with diabetes mellitus coming a close second. Not only is there evidence for an increased worldwide prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism, but also for geographical variation in the prevalence of the disease. Despite its frequency, the underlying cause(s) of this common disease is or are not known, and therefore prevention of the disease is not possible. Due to the multiple risk factors that have been described for feline hyperthyroidism, however, it is likely that more than one factor is involved in its pathogenesis. Continuous, lifelong exposure to environmental thyroid-disruptor chemicals or goitrogens in food or water, acting together or in an additive fashion, may lead to euthyroid goitre and ultimately to autonomous adenomatous hyperplasia, thyroid adenoma and hyperthyroidism. This review aims to summarise the available published evidence for the changes observed in the worldwide prevalence of the disease, as well as risk factors that may contribute to development of hyperthyroidism in susceptible cats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cats
  • Global Health
  • Hyperthyroidism / epidemiology
  • Hyperthyroidism / veterinary*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors