Feline Hyperthyroidism Reported in Primary-Care Veterinary Practices in England: Prevalence, Associated Factors and Spatial Distribution

Stephens M.J., Neill D.G., Church D.B., et al.

Vet Rec, 2014. 


Feline hyperthyroidism is a commonly diagnosed endocrinopathy that can have a substantial deleterious impact on the welfare of affected cats. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence, associated factors and geographical distribution for feline hyperthyroidism in England, using primary-care veterinary practice clinical data from the VetCompass Animal Surveillance Project. Prevalence was estimated from the overall cat cohort. Associated factor analysis used an age-matched, nested, case-control design with multivariable logistic regression. There were 2,276 cases of feline hyperthyroidism identified from 95,629 cats attending 84 practices from September 2009 to December 2011. Cases were aged 6-25 years. 3.7 per cent of cases and 9.9 per cent of controls were purebred, 56.4 per cent of cases and 56.5 per cent of controls were female, and 88.1 per cent of cases and 86.0 per cent of controls were neutered. The apparent prevalence was 2.4 per cent (95% CI 2.3 to 2.5 per cent) overall, and 8.7 per cent (95% CI 8.3 to 9.0 per cent) in cats aged 10 years or above. Burmese (OR 0.15, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.32, P<0.0001), Persian (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.33, P<0.0001), Siamese (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.75, P=0.004) and purebred cats overall (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.42, P< 0.0001) had lower odds of feline hyperthyroidism than non-purebred cats. Insured cats had increased odds (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.56 to 2.03, P< 0.001). There was little evidence of spatial variation. This study highlights feline hyperthyroidism as a high-prevalence disease in England, and reports reduced odds of diagnosis in certain breeds and purebred cats overall.