Anyone else have a hyperthyroid cat?

(34 Posts)
CatOfTheDay Thu 19-Sep-13 15:29:16

My nearly 14 year old cat is off to the vets in a couple of hours.

She first started showing symptoms earlier this year - diarrhoea and weight loss despite eating loads. Since then she's been on Vidalta every other day. She had a bit of a bad reaction at first, but after a short break on the vets advice we continued and it's seemed to work. Until now!

She can't seem to keep the pills down anymore - on pill nights she's fine for a couple of hours then up comes whatever food she's had and a semi-digested pill! She isn't sick on the alternate nights when she doesn't have the pill.

We're hoping there's an alternative medication she can take, but I'm also wondering about the possibility of surgery.

Does anyone else have any experience?

Yes I've had a couple. In both cases they took the pills for two weeks to make sure that they responded and to stabilise things, then they both had an op to remove the thyroid and were both completely fine after that and lived for quite a few more years.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 19-Sep-13 18:33:26

I was going suggest the op too. I know you will be worried about your puss being older for surgery. All cats who have the thyroid op are old. It is a relative short procedure I do a lot of them and it takes me between 10 and 15 minutes.
Do you give the tablet on a full stomach, I find this dramatically improves things with cats who vomit them up. Unfortunately, because the two different drugs used are so similar if they have problems with one the will have those problems with the other.
There is a diet, but I haven't had much success with this.

CatOfTheDay Thu 19-Sep-13 19:10:35

Back from the vets!

I've tried on a full stomach AND an empty stomach, with the same result. The vet has given her Antepsin to settle her stomach and see how she goes, then we'll try the other meds to see if that helps.

If there's no luck with any of those then it's the surgery - at least she's insured! smile

Bakingtins Thu 19-Sep-13 19:17:29

If she's insured you may also want to consider radioactive iodine treatment, of the order of £1500 but no anaesthetic or surgery risks. Needs to be at one of a limited number of specialist units and cat has to stay for approx 4 weeks after treatment.
I've had cats do v well on the low iodine diet (Hills Y/D) but you do need to be sure they are not fed elsewhere.

gindrinker Thu 19-Sep-13 20:30:47

Yes!
We went through the tablets, then the 4am sick, then the grumpy cat(and tired humans clearing up the 4am sick)
She had one of her thyroids removed about 8 weeks ago.
There has been no more sick (apart from when the stoopid hoomans fed her gravy food) and she weighs a bit more, her fur is speak and lovely and she's her normal shouty self.

Madame is insured and the insurers coughed up the £600 (£400 op,several blood tests and the pills)
Madame is between 9 and 12 years old and bounced back within a couple of days and is happy.
If the tablets aren't staying down then the op is a good option.

timtam23 Thu 19-Sep-13 22:19:26

My then-16 year old cat became hyperthyroid last year, we tried Felimazole but he had a bad blood reaction and became very anaemic, I thought he was about to die as he was so withdrawn. The only reasonable option at his age was surgery and as he was in good shape for 16, the vet was happy to operate. He had half of his thyroid removed and recovered extremely well. One year on he is still with us, sadly he developed high blood pressure and is going blind but from the point of view of his thyroid, he's fine. It's a massive relief not to have to give the tablets every day and I'm also glad we chose the op when we did as he wouldn't be considered fit enough now. My vet said he did about 3 cat thyroid ops a month & it was a very common problem & most of the cats were pretty elderly so they were used to anaesthetising slightly higher-risk animals.

I didn't consider the radioiodine because I thought at 16 he was too old to make it financially viable, also there are only a few places in the country where they do it and the cat has to go into quarantine for a while afterwards - if they become unwell during that time in quarantine, they have to be put to sleep. My cat would have hated the quarantine and I didn't want the risk of him being put to sleep so it was a definite no for us.

The other option was a special low-iodine cat food from Hills but we haven't tried it yet - will hold it in reserve just in case the remaining half of his thyroid starts to go overactive as well! He's not well enough for an op now, and we wouldn't give him the tablets because of how ill they made him last time.

cozietoesie Thu 19-Sep-13 22:39:22

Seniorboy had a full and fairly lengthy GA at 16 and the vet was pretty confident that she could handle the higher risk. His previous vet had considered the dental work he needed as a bit of a Hail Mary pass but with his current vet he came through fine. (My cc was a bit sick and tearful for a while but Hey Ho.)

I'd go for the op, I think. Getting pills down a cat for any length of time is not for the faint hearted.

elspethmcgillicuddy Thu 19-Sep-13 22:42:34

Our cat has been on felimazole for a couple of years. She is now 18 and a different cat from before. She is happy and settled. She used to stray a lot before and had some odd behavioural traits. She takes three tablets a day very easily.

Hope your cat gets the treatment that suits it best.

CatOfTheDay Thu 19-Sep-13 23:08:05

Well I'm pleased to report that after 4 hours the pill is still in the cat! It's normally come back up in a partially digested form by now, so the extra stuff must be working.
Still keeping an eye on her - she's asleep on the back of the sofa at the moment. smile

A friend's cat has just had the op and was home and already feeling better the same day - and mine is a tough little cat!

I don't think I fancy the radioactive treatment - I'd miss her too much (and don't think there's a place that does it near enough to visit).

cozietoesie Thu 19-Sep-13 23:13:34

Well that's fairly positive. Let's hope it stays down now.

smile

CatOfTheDay Fri 20-Sep-13 02:48:51

7hrs later and I've jst finished clearing up the 2.30am puke...sad

(I am still awake with deadly man-flu - was about to go to bed and poor old cat decided to projectile vomit...)

Sorry for TMI but it was more liquid this time with no identifiable pill in there so I'm hoping she's actuallly digested some of it first!

I'm now having a gin. And then sneaking cat into bed with me so we can look after each other in our illnesses! (DP is in the spare room so I'm not coughing and sputtering all over him all night)

gindrinker Fri 20-Sep-13 16:04:50

Is your vet friendly and approachable?
Give them a ring and see what they suggest. As they've seen you so recently they might suggest booking her in for the op next week? Or they might suggest a higher dose of anti sick medicine?

It definitely sounds as though an op is the best way forward in the long run. Mine were both fragile old ladies when they had it done and both were fine. Definitely mention it to your vet.

CatOfTheDay Sat 21-Sep-13 20:45:17

We're actually between ves at the momnet - we moved 12 miles away, so I took her to the old one on Thursday with much protesting from the cat box on the way!

She's now registered at a closer vets (recommended by several people - they have a cat-only waiting room!) so I'll book her into the new one next week and see what they think about the surgery.

She was a bit grumpy and out of sorts all day yesterday but is feeling much better now and has been slinking around with the younger cats and stealing the kitten's food! smile

I think I'm going to give the pills a miss until she's seen a vet again, the stomach-settling stuff kept it down longer but she had a worse reaction.

CatOfTheDay Sat 21-Sep-13 20:47:13

Between VETS that it!

TamzinGrey Sat 21-Sep-13 22:40:59

Our much loved 16 year old hyperthyroid cat reacted badly to the tablets and we were worried about whether she could cope with surgery at her age, so we went for the radioiodine option. It was expensive and we had to borrow the money, but it was well worth it.

It was really horrible that she had to spend 4 weeks in hospital, but we got daily messages from her nurses and we knew that she was in very good hands. When she came out she was a completely changed cat. No longer hyper and nervous, but completely returned to her old laid back and very affectionate self.

One year later and she's still fit and well and often behaving like a silly kitten.

Hyperthyroidism is horrible for them. They spend all of their waking hours having panic attacks.

Wolfiefan Sat 21-Sep-13 22:51:08

Crap. Wolfie cat was diagnosed yesterday. She's had two pills today. Please someone tell me I won't be up at 3am cleaning up vomit!
FWIW re surgery. She recently (17 years old) had a fairly major abdo procedure and sailed through it.
3 pills a day? Oh dear. I thought 2 a day was bad! I'm really struggling with this. We've only just got her through the last op.

gindrinker Sun 22-Sep-13 15:28:42

Wolfie cat might be fine on them.
I suppose its like human drugs you hear the worst rather than the 1000s of cats who take them everyday with no probs.

Gin cat decided the most appropriate place for the 4am sicks was next to our bed so we knew all about them! She'd come and sleep on the floor next to us, then would wake up queasy and had to be sick there and then. Poor munchkin.

Grandmaw Mon 23-Sep-13 19:08:46

My cat has been on Vidalta for almost a year now. He has one tablet on alternate days and I was dreading having to give them to him.
However, I found a solution to the problem. I buy Webbox tasty stick treats. I cut off a piece about an inch long, make a slit in it and pop in the pill. I then mould the treat around the pill a little.
It is the easiest method ever to give a cat a pill. I have had a few occasions when the treat has been eaten and the pill spat out, but I just repeat the process with another piece of treat and it usually goes down.

CatOfTheDay Tue 24-Sep-13 22:14:32

Hope Wolfiecat is getting on OK! Our Motley has always been pretty good with pills (she's earned her hefty insurance premiums in her 14 years!) - it's keeping these ones down she's struggling with, it can be a side effect (and even then one that can clear up after a couple of weeks according to our vet)

She's booked in to see her new vet tomorrow morning - she's been happier off the pills, but is too thin and acting a bit thyroid-y again - so fingers crossed we find a new solution. I'm going to see if she can have the surgery.

timtam23 Tue 24-Sep-13 22:32:11

I hope you and the vet can come up with a solution

I was really worried about my 16 year old cat having the op but the vet was very reassuring

CatOfTheDay Thu 26-Sep-13 21:41:20

The new vet thinks that we should try Felimazole - but she's waiting for Motley's notes from the old vet before she can prescribe it.
I'm dropping in her insurance form at the old vets tomorrow so will give them a prod!

Motley put in a great performance at the vets - the vet was just asking if she seemed OK in herself, and Motley answered by jumping over the vet's shoulder onto the windowsill behind (there was a dog going past outside!) grin

She also thinks the radioiodine option is far better than surgery, but our nearest place is in London - a 3hr drive away shock

Bluestocking Thu 26-Sep-13 21:46:20

My old Fluffy had the surgery - it worked a treat, he put on a kilo in a week and became quite the relaxed napper.

TamzinGrey Thu 26-Sep-13 22:41:17

Fingers crossed that the Felimazole will be ok for her.

I wish that there were more radioiodine clinics available. All of the vets agree that it is the very best option, as it is a complete cure, with no risk to the cat at all. We were so lucky to have a clinic just 45 minutes away.

Nessalina Thu 26-Sep-13 22:49:25

My folks' two kitties both have thyroid issues and are on daily tablets, never been offered the operation from what I know, but they are 18 and 19 (and still going strong!). They've not had digestive issues with the tablets (which my mum gives them hidden in soft food at dinner time), but the younger one hates taking it, so will usually eat her dinner leaving a solitary tablet behind! They've started using a cat pill-crusher and sprinkling the bits over the food to make sure she's at least getting some of the benefit, and that seems to do the trick - might also work if your kitty isn't digesting a whole tablet well?

CatOfTheDay Fri 27-Sep-13 21:10:24

The new vet now has the notes from the old vet, and thinks the levels on her last tests aren't consistent with how she is now (still losing weight despite the Vidalta staying down for a while, and her Thyroxine levels were only slightly above normal then)- so wants to do full bloods and the T4 test again. So Motley's booked in on Monday - getting worried it may be something more serious sad

cozietoesie Fri 27-Sep-13 21:13:36

Best to know, CatOfTheDay, whatever the situation. Then you can treat it if there's a problem.

Best of luck on Monday.

pigsDOfly Fri 27-Sep-13 22:54:35

My 19 year old lady has been on Felimazole for about 3 years now. During that time the dose has been adjusted following blood tests and she is now on 2 a day. She seems to enjoy life and seem happy.

I've never been offered any other options from the 2 different vets she's seen during this time but she seems okay on it. Had I known about surgery when my cat was younger I would have plumped for that, but she's probably too old now. She also has high blood pressure and is on medication for that.

She does vomit from time to time and if it becomes to frequent seems to be linked with the need to increase her medication, which definitely helps.

Nessalina: please check with your vet about crushing your cats' pills You don't say what your cats are on but I know that you must not crush Felimazole as apparently it can be harmful for the person administering it.

TamzinGrey Sat 28-Sep-13 01:02:56

Nessalina - Pigs is right. You should check with your vet about crushing the tablets. As well as being harmful to humans if handled when broken, they are a slow release medication, so not effective unless swallowed whole.

CatOfTheDay Mon 30-Sep-13 22:30:20

Motley was very brave for her blood tests. She's put on 0.03kg. smile

I have to ring tomorrow for the results - then back again Wednesday morning with our young rescue cat who has the shits!
(Well, he HAD the shits - until this evening when I have to get a sample, now he just won't go!)

Until then I am chasing cats round with sample jars. I need to get some wee from Motley too - I have some plastic balls to put in a litter tray to catch it, so she can spend tomorrow in a room by herself I think (with special food as a treat!)

CatOfTheDay Thu 03-Oct-13 21:55:19

Bumping to see if anyone with hyperthyroid cats need any Vidalta - I have about a month's supply (maybe more) left and I'm happy to send it on. I don't think Motley will want any more! smile

Wolfiefan Thu 03-Oct-13 22:01:57

Hi again! Wolfiecat has seemed fine on the pills. (Sick once but then she is occasionally sick.)
Back to see the vet next week. I'm sure she's put on weight. I'm sure they will retest and then want to discuss staying on tablets, op or diet.

CatOfTheDay Thu 03-Oct-13 22:39:20

Good luck Wolfiecat! smile

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