Review Article

Worldwide prevalence and risk factors for feline hyperthyroidism: A review

Joanne L. McLean, Remo G. Lobetti, Johan P. Schoeman
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 85, No 1 | a1097 | DOI: | © 2014 Joanne L. McLean, Remo G. Lobetti, Johan P. Schoeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 August 2013 | Published: 14 November 2014

About the author(s)

Joanne L. McLean, Bryanston Veterinary Hospital, Bryanston, South Africa; Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa, South Africa
Remo G. Lobetti, Bryanston Veterinary Hospital, Bryanston, South Africa
Johan P. Schoeman, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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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.


cat, endocrine disease, hyperthyroidism, risk factors, prevalence


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doi: 10.1177/1098612X19859947