Flame Retardants and Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Flame retardants could contribute to feline hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease diagnosed in cats. It's a disruption of the thyroid gland that results in overproduction of the hormones T3 and T4. The result is an increased metabolism which can cause damage to the heart and other organs over time. You can learn more here: "Hyperthyroidism in Cats."

What Causes Feline Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism was first documented in cats in the 1970s, and since then, cases have continued to rise dramatically. Scientists have been busy trying to determine the cause of the disease, and while they haven't come to a conclusion, they are getting closer.

Veterinarians and scientists believe that the most likely cause of hyperthyroidism is either a nutritional deficiency or excess or exposure to environmental compounds (Peterson, 2012).

The biggest suspect for a dietary cause of feline hyperthyroidism is iodine. The recommended amount of iodine in cat food changed in the 1970s, and less iodine has generally present in cat foods since then.

Hyperthyroidism in cats resembles a disease which occurs in older humans in iodine deficient areas, and some studies have found higher rates of hyperthyroidism in cats fed low iodine diets.

Ingesting too much iodine is also known to disrupt thyroid function.

Some of the environmental contaminants that have been implicated as potentially being involved in triggering the development of feline hyperthyroidism include:

PBDEs: Flame Retardants and Hyperthyroidism in Cats

PBDEs are used as flame retardants in the US in many items. They have been banned in some other countries.

Because they are so widely used, PBDE levels can be quite high in household dust. Cats, being fastidious groomers, probably ingest a significant amount of household dust.

Various studies have shown a link between PBDEs and hyperthyroidism in cats. Cats have been found to metabolize PBDEs more slowly than humans or dogs, allowing the compounds more time in the body to potentially disrupt thyroid function.

What Can You Do?

While scientists continue to work toward nailing down the exact cause of feline hyperthyroidism, it's a good idea to keep all of the potentials in mind. After all, the cause may well be a combination of things. Here are some tips to keep in mind to do what you can to avoid hyperthyroidism in your cat. Remember, doing all of these things does not guarantee that your cat won't develop hyperthyroidism.

Works Cited

  1. Peterson, M. (2012, Nov.). Hyperthyroidism in Cats: What's causing this epidemic of thyroid disease and can we prevent it? Retrieved from Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery: DOI: 10.1177/1098612X12464462.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Ethoxyquin, Mercury, and PCBs: Is Feeding Fish Safe for Cats?

Tylenol Toxicity in Cats

Human Medications That Are Dangerous to Cats

Top 10 Cat Toxins of 2014 - Slideshow

Sago Palms Can Be Lethal to Cats

Warning: Topical Medications Containing Flurbiprofen May Be Dangerous to Cats

Vitamin A Toxicity in Cats

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with CatHealth.com.