Management and monitoring of hyperthyroid cats: A survey of Australian veterinarians

Lucy Kopecny, Paul Higgs, Angie Hibbert, Richard Malik, Andrea M Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: This study sought to evaluate how Australian veterinarians approach management and monitoring of feline hyperthyroidism and compare these results with a similar survey recently performed in the UK.
Methods: An invitation to complete an online survey was sent to veterinarians in all states and territories of Australia. The survey comprised questions relating to management of hyperthyroidism, use of antithyroid drugs vs radioiodine treatment vs surgical thyroidectomy, in addition to demographic information for respondents.
Results: A total of 546 clinicians completed the survey. The most commonly preferred treatments for long-term management of feline hyperthyroidism were antithyroid medications (305/546; 56%) and radioiodine (210/546; 38%), with substantially more respondents selecting radioiodine when cost was removed as a consideration (425/546; 78%). However, most respondents had treated or referred few cases for radioiodine (median 2). Most veterinarians (500/546; 92%) used antithyroid medications either long term or prior to definitive treatment of hyperthyroidism. For medical management, 45% (244/546) of veterinarians used twice-daily carbimazole. Half of respondents (274/546) aimed to maintain the total thyroxine concentration anywhere within the laboratory reference interval in hyperthyroid cats without chronic kidney disease. Blood pressure monitoring was uncommon. Surgical thyroidectomy was rarely performed.
Conclusions and relevance: Radioiodine was more frequently preferred by Australian veterinarians compared with those in the UK, likely associated with greater availability, reduced cost and shorter hospitalisation times in this jurisdiction, although antithyroid medications were the most frequently used treatment modality. Barriers remain to its utilisation, however, including perceived cost, misconceptions with regard to expected success rate and accessibility. Recent changes to recommendations on the management and monitoring of hyperthyroid cats do not appear to have been widely adopted by veterinarians at this time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
Early online dateMar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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