When Katie Fox of Sunderland, Mass., noticed that her cat Maggie was walking with her mouth hanging open as they went on a summer stroll, she didn’t think much of it. It was a hot day, so she cut the walk short and gave the 7-year-old tabby a bowl of cold water. Maggie seemed to recover but continued to pant on subsequent walks even after the weather cooled. Then Fox began to notice other things: Maggie would wolf down a can of cat food at a single sitting then beg for more. She would drain her water bowl then head to the bathroom to drink out of the toilet. In spite of this, Maggie lost weight at an alarming rate. The normally petite cat became almost skeletal.
Maggie was diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism, the most common endocrine disorder in cats, which is found most frequently in middle-aged and elderly cats.
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