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New research finds association between cat hyperthyroid disease and flame retardant levels in dust

March 12, 2012

An informative new study of 72 cats by Mensching, et al. confirmed that domestic cats have high concentrations of PBDE flame retardants in their blood.

The study compared the blood levels of flame retardants in healthy and hyperthyroid geriatric cats and found no significant difference. However, PBDE levels in household dust were significantly higher in homes with hyperthyroid cats.

Analysis of several commercially available canned cat foods suggested that food is not a major source of PBDEs. Ingestion of dust from grooming, however, is proposed as the main source of the cats’ PBDE exposure. The estimates for PBDE exposure calculated from the study data indicate that domestic cats are at risk for adverse thyroid effects from these chemicals.

Treatment options for feline hyperthyroidism include surgery, drug therapy (methimazole), radioactive iodine treatment, and a new treatment for the disease which is a prescription diet called Hill’s y/d which is very low in iodine.

Full reference:

Mensching, D. A., Slater, M., Scott, J. W., Ferguson, D. C., & Val, R. (2012). The Feline Thyroid Gland : A Model for Endocrine Disruption by Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)? Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues, 75 (February), 201–12. doi:10.1080/15287394.2012.652054