Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

Thanks guys, especially to those who responded to my posting about having physical exams that are thorough enough for our loves ones.
(For those of you who didn't read, Sylvie, our younger cat (~6 year old) had an apt. with a new vet at our local clinic, and I was quite unhappy with the brief and undetailed appointment she had (not even clearning the ears or using the stethoscope or taking blood pressure, etc.).

We made sure to request the senior vet. I also brought up with my family about your responses about blood tests/feces tests, etc.

Luckily, the vet did take a urine test (ouch for our older cat, 11 year-old, Charlie; they took her into another room to extract). But they found some blood, and found a bacteria. So she has to be on a pink, liquid antibiotic for 4 more weeks.

But he also ordered blood tests, and results came back showing that she has hyperthyroidism. So we are worried. 4 years ago, a stray cat with FIV+ that we adopted had hyperthyroidism, and after diagnosis, he declined so quickly even with treatment. So we are worried.

I'd like to know any/all words from those of you experienced with this.
For exapmle:
- How did your cat do?/How is he or she doing?
- What treatment/s did you choose? (We are debating daily meds, surgery, or radiation). If surgery/radiation, did it cure?
- etc. etc.

We have been giving all natural cat food for years. Currently mostly:
Solid Gold, Wellness, Felidae, No Grain (if that's not the name, it is the Merrick branch), and a couple more. Just over the last couple of days, Charlie's appetite has gone up (could be side effect from antibiotics, but we remember too well with our past cat who had hyperthyroidism; he'd been on Tapazole).

All feedback and advice could be very helpful.
Thanks Guys!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 07:48 PM
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

The good news is that there have been many cats that live with hyperthyroidism for years, it's not a death sentence. I have never had a cat with it, but have had three friends with hyperthyroid cats....

#1 lived a good 3-4 years after diagnosis and died from a cancer. They used tapazole compounded into treats and the cat loved them, didn't give her a hard time about taking them at all.

#2 belonged to a friend who is into holistic and homeopathic medicine. She refused to give him tapazole and instead treated him with with homeopathy only. He didn't live very long, maybe a year to 18 months. But he was also 18 years old.

#3 chose to go the radiation route, she wasn't exactly sure of his age, but believed him to be under 10. He had been a recent adoption from the shelter and originally was thought to be malnourished, but after a few months and no weight gain she had his thyroid tested. She felt that it was worth going through the process and the expense because he could still have a very long life. That was about a year, year and a half ago and he's doing great. He went through the treatment without any issues. My friend was quite please with the whole thing. His blood test numbers are fine, he's put on weight and regained muscle tone.

I guess if it were me, with an otherwise healthy 11 year old cat, I would do the radiation treatment.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

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Originally Posted by doodlebug
#3 chose to go the radiation route, she wasn't exactly sure of his age, but believed him to be under 10. He had been a recent adoption from the shelter and originally was thought to be malnourished, but after a few months and no weight gain she had his thyroid tested. She felt that it was worth going through the process and the expense because he could still have a very long life. That was about a year, year and a half ago and he's doing great. He went through the treatment without any issues. My friend was quite please with the whole thing. His blood test numbers are fine, he's put on weight and regained muscle tone.

I guess if it were me, with an otherwise healthy 11 year old cat, I would do the radiation treatment.
=============
Thanks Doodle for your helpful reply,
Yes, we are considering the radiation, though just going to start up the research more now. When our past cat with the FIV+ and Hyperthyroidism, he even went blind (though he regained some of it) while on treatment. Poor guy. We've undergone different types of surgery for our cats over the years, and I hate to say, it seemed whenever done, they passed away during recovery or right away. ( But that doesn't have to do with hyperthyroidism all the time.

We want our dear ones to live many, many, many more years (not just 1 or 2). I'm so glad your friend who went with the radiation, has been successful so far.

Thank you for your reply!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

And FOOD: As you know, appetite increases. Charlie's has just started upping in the last few days, it seems, almost since appointment/diagnosis. As hyperthyroidism seems to increase AND cause weight loss, should you let them eat more? Seems like you should, but is that damaging? I know it's up to me to do lots of research, which I plan on continuing with, but this helps so much from direct people.
Thx,
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 09:19 PM
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

His metabolism is going crazy and he's burning through calories so I would let him have as much as he wants until you can get him under control. If you choose the radiation, I believe you will have to get him stabilized on tapazole first for something like 3-6 months. And then have him evaluated to see if he's really a candidate.

Since I see that you're in Boston, I can get the name of the place that my friend used for her cat if you're interested. It's not something your average local vet can do. If you're actually in Boston, Angell Memorial does it. And if you're outside of Boston the place she went was somewhere in Mass north of Boston, I just don't remember where.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

YOur'e terrific! And what a great match that she is located near Boston. I am right outside of Boston. I was looking up radiation treatments for hyperthyroidism, and see there's a treatment in Wakefield, MA. I went to the site, www.radiocat.com, which does this process and has branches all over the nation.

We've been to Angell's oh too many times, and the last several times, we were very unhappy with the treatment, the doctors, and the recovery/housing/cage room. Our cat with hyperthyroidism, who died a few years ago, unfortunately made us quite angry with the place. It was also literally freezing cold in there, adn we had to put on an extra sweater and coat to stay from shivering. When our poor cat and others were shaved and had no heating.

Also the nurse was totally clueless on workign I.V.'s and really caused a lot of unneeded pain, inaccurately handling the tubes. And I can't get into further detaisl right now, but was heaart wrenching and upsetting. All in short, he was on the curb to death, out of control and in pain, but when we got home, there was a cheery long message for us (assuming we were not at the hospital) saying how he was doing wonderfully in recovery. Heck no.

Sorry, but that was our last experience. He had died right after we parted. We hope so much they've improved immensely over the last 2 years and upgraded the doctors and nurses too!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 09:35 PM
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

Hyperthyroidism is certainly not a death sentence. With proper treatment, a cat can live a healthy normal life for many more years. My oldest cat (now 15) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism 4 1/2 yrs ago. I went the medication route, with much success, and I'm going to lose her to not the disease she's lived with for so long, but to kidney failure instead.

I do wish that at the time radioactive iodine treatment was more of an option for me. If I had to do it again, I would certainly go that route instead. The medication works well for most cats, with few side effects, but it has its downsides. If you are gone for a day or more, you need to make sure you find a pet sitter who can give the medication. Some cat's do not take the medication well, and there is quite an added cost for the trans dermal gel or to have it compounded into treats. The cost of the medication and regular blood tests adds up over a couple of years to be about equal to the cost of radio-iodine treatment.
For a cat that is not that old and otherwise healthy, I would certainly suggest radioactive iodine. Its very safe & has a high success rate, its just that the up-front cost can be quite expensive. Around here, the cost is about $1200 through the vet school at the university.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell
For a cat that is not that old and otherwise healthy, I would certainly suggest radioactive iodine. Its very safe & has a high success rate, its just that the up-front cost can be quite expensive. Around here, the cost is about $1200 through the vet school at the university.
===========
Nell,
I really appreciate your response also. And your beautiful kitty (in the aviator pic) makes me melt. She's so beautiful and sweet looking. Yes, our past cat several years ago was on Tapazole, and seemed to suffer badly from side effects. And as you noted, prices add up. For our regular annual exam Charlie had, with her Leukemia shot, one more, and then labs, cost more than $450. But I'm willing to use all we can for our loved ones whether fur or no fur.

Thank you, and that radio treatment is what we are looking into the most.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 10:04 PM
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

My cat Puzzles was diagnoses with hyperthyroidism at age 17 and she lived to be 21. We went through the pre-testing needed for the Radioactive Iodine treatment (A heart echo, and two different special kidney tests) but she failed one of the kidney tests so we weren't a candidate for treatment. If your cat has any underlying kidney issues, the effects of the hyperthyroidism (the elevated blood pressure) could be masking the disease by forcing the kidneys to operate at a higher capacity. When you treat the hyperthyoidism, it could put them into kidney failure. This might be what happened with your other kitty. Anyway, point being these special tests are very important before you do the treatment, so make sure your center performs them.

We ended up putting Puzzles on a compounded dose of Tapazole that was easy on her tummy and she loved. She got half a dose so that it managed her hyperthyroid symptoms without over taxing her kidneys. We lost her at age 21 to cancer.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 10:20 PM
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Re: Hyperthyroidism / Hyperthyroids and Thorough Appointment

Radiocat is the place she went to, the name rang a bell. Wakefield is definitely between here and Boston! As I said she was really happy with the whole process. Her cat did have all the up front tests. I believe the kidney failure issue is why they have you get them stabilized on tapazole for 3-6 months before having the radioactive iodine process done.

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience at Angell, you're actually the first person I've heard say that. I had my Callie down there when she was sick 2 years ago and thought they did a great job, not that there was much they could do for her. I also knew someone who's dog had osteosarcoma and had his leg amputated there, she lost him a year later for other reasons, but he was cancer free at the time. I hope that things haven't degraded there because they certainly have a great facility with all kinds of equipment imaginable for dealing with the most difficult issues.


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