Objective—To determine whether the increasing prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism is the result of aging of the cat population and whether consumption of canned foods at various times throughout life is associated with increased risk of hyperthyroidism.
Design—Retrospective and case-control studies.
Study Population—Medical records of 169,576 cats, including 3,570 cats with hyperthyroidism, evaluated at 9 veterinary school hospitals during a 20-year period, and 109 cats with hyperthyroidism (cases) and 173 cats without hyperthyroidism (controls).
Procedure—Age-adjusted hospital prevalence of hyperthyroidism was calculated by use of Veterinary Medical Database records. On the basis of owners' questionnaire responses, logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between consumption of canned food and development of hyperthyroidism.
Results—Age-specific hospital prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism increased significantly from 1978 to 1997. Overall, consumption of pop-top canned (vs dry) food at various times throughout life and each additional year of age were associated with greater risk of developing hyperthyroidism. In female cats, increased risk was associated with consumption of food packaged in pop-top cans or in combinations of pop-top and non-pop-top cans. In male cats, increased risk was associated with consumption of food packaged in pop-top cans and age.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These findings suggest that the increasing prevalence of feline hyperthyroidism is not solely the result of aging of the cat population and that canned foods may play a role. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:879–886)