Cats receiving treatment for hyperthyroidism, the overproduction of thyroid hormone, can develop decreased kidney function. However, today’s methods of predicting which cats will experience post-treatment kidney problems are cumbersome and impractical, the Morris Animal Foundation says. The foundation is sponsoring a study to test whether measuring a protein called TGF-beta in cat urine can reliably predict those at risk.
Lauren A. Trepanier, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who received her DVM degree and Ph.D. in pharmacology at Cornell, is the lead investigator.
If a test can be developed, it might have wider applications for detecting early kidney disease in older cats and, with early intervention, delay its progression, the foundation says.
Hyperthyroidism and kidney disease commonly occur in aging cats. Early signs of kidney failure, according to Cornell’s Feline Health Center, include increased water consumption and urination, inappetance, lethargy, weight loss and vomiting.