Elderly cat - advice please(25 Posts)
My cat will be 18 this year and has been having treatment for hyperthyroidism for the last three and a half years. His latest blood tests have shown that his thyroid reading is sky high despite being on medication. The vet has changed the medication to a different drug (tablet twice a day) but if this does not have any effect it may mean that he has a tumour which is not responsive. The blood test also show that he has failing kidneys so he is now having half a tablet a day to try to help this problem.
I have to take him back for a further blood test in a couple of weeks to see if the new thyroid treatment is having any effect.
The vet and I are also aware that his teeth are not very good but the vet felt it unwise to think about an anaesthetic at the present time until we see how the thyroid treatment is going . I agreed with this.
Yesterday I noticed that the cat had a swelling on the side of his face. I managed to get him in to the vets just before they closed. He now has an abscess on one of his teeth. He had two injections and I have to see how he goes in the next couple of days. He is not eating much - have tried tempting him with fresh chicken and fish. He manages a little but is not really interested.
He is very thin - weighed 2.7kg at the last vet visit.
He has had a happy life and is a very much loved cat and I do not want him to suffer any pain. The vet has said that something needs to be done about his infected tooth as it will only continue to cause him trouble.
My question is - how much treatment do you give an elderly cat? I am realistic and know that he has done well to get to 18. I want to do what I can for him but don't want to feel pressured into treatment. I did broach the subject with the vet and they understood how I felt..
Well your choices sound a little limited do they not? He's likely to be in considerable pain and/or discomfort from his teeth and rotting teeth/abscesses are actually quite dangerous to the whole system from what I understand. And his teeth aren't likely to improve of their own accord.
Even if you don't go for the GA op (and at his age, I could quite understand that) then I reckon you have to act in some way.
We've just had to say goodbye to our elderly cat due to hyperthyroidism and a tumour. It was a hard decision but for us the right one. The abscess must be very painful and he needs lots of calories just to survive. Go with your gut instinct re further treatment.
That's a harsh tone ,cozietoes. I know that 'something' has to be done but what? I worry about putting him through an anaesthetic with the other problems that he has.
Rest assured, I will be back at the vets tomorrow if necessary - I do not want my cat to suffer in any way.
I didn't mean to sound 'harsh' so I'm sorry if that's how it came across. I know the situation you're in though - my own lad is older than your boy, albeit without the hyperthyroidism, possible tumour and failing kidneys, and while he's currently a happy lad due mainly to an indulgent vet and lavish meds, he's on a palliative care regime only. (I had an older boy some years back who died of kidney failure and I've always regretted that I didn't intervene in his case.)
It's a hard place to be.
I really feel for you. Well, my old ginger cat had hyperthyroidism and lasted until he was 21. He finally died in peace on the sofa. He was so thin he was like a sheet of stripy orange tissue paper, but he was a happy kitty, and that's what counts. He had kidney failure as well.
I know this is horribly worrying, but you have a couple of weeks at least before you need to make decisions.Before you make any choices, wait for the blood results.
If they're ok, could you get the teeth treated and see how you go? Cats don't really need a lot of teeth and they might be able to whip them out fairly easily.
Thing is, this is a place in life where there shouldn't be any rules. And it feels partic hard to have to be the one to make the decision oneself, to have to institute miserable bloody rules, when one is the one who loves the kitty the most. Sorry, that's really inarticulate. But if I had to use a rule myself (and I can't bear to think about that for Mr C, my fat tabby), I'd go for measuring the happiness v. illness ratio.
Once he's stabilised and the abscess is cured, what dominates the kitty's life? Slumbering in a sunbeam for the summer or curled up hiding? Howling for extra treats or ignoring the bowl? Only you can see him to make that judgement. Only you can hear the purr.
Have you read the piece in the Grauniad today about your very dilemma? I thought it was drippy but others may not. Might help
It's a tough call. We lost our old girl in July. She had thyroid issues but it was all under control. She suddenly deteriorated.
I think if it was an invasive tumour then I might think that was the end of the road. If tooth and thyroid just needed different medication that would be different.
I feel for you. It's so hard.
CONTENT WARNING the piece I linked to is about Siamese cats. Just in case anyone might rather skip it.
Update - Thomas has had an operation today to deal with his abscess and remove decayed teeth. Vet has just rung to say everything is ok (thank goodness). The abscess has been cleaned out and 4 teeth removed.
He was put on a drip this morning before the operation to give him some fluids and that apparently perked him up a little.
May have to stay at vets overnight on a drip to help him recover.
Feel so relieved that this has now been done but the house feels so empty without him being around. Can't wait to get him home!
Great news. My own old boy had his life improved immeasurably by a proper dental.
I'm very pleased for you both.
Well done brave Tom Kitten! You must feel so much better. Let us know how he is doing tomorrow.
Good news. Here's hoping he feels so much better.
Final update - sadly Thomas was put to sleep this morning. After seeming to come out of the operation to have his abscess cleaned and four teeth removed well, he began to deteriorate yesterday afternoon. This morning, with his kidneys failing he was very weak and I took the decision to have him pts- could not bear to see him continue to suffer. I was able to give him a cuddle and tell him how much I loved him. The end was very peaceful.
I've cried buckets today but know that I did the right thing at the right time.
Good night, my boy.
So sorry. I'm glad you got to have your goodbye moment. It must be tough.
So so sorry for your loss. I love my cats as much as my children
I think that knowing you've done the right thing, out of kindness, is really important.
I am so sorry to hear about your lovely old boy. Rest in peace Thomas.
Thank you for your kind remarks.
My son and I buried Thomas in the garden this morning.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks to your love and care Thomas was spared much suffering. He sounds like he had a wonderful life.
RIP your beautiful Thomas.
I'm so sorry but you saved your beloved boy from suffering.
Dear GrandMaw I too am so sorry you have lost Thomas and altho not religious I have a vague hope they cross over rainbow bridge to another form of life, free of pain. (As I vaguely hope we all do too.......) My cat is just 18 and has suddenly deteriorated the past week ie barely eating and his eyes are not as bright, plus showing little interest in meat off spare ribs any more - which always has been a go-to trick of mine if he looked under the weather! You can guess I am sort-of not looking fwd to our week's holiday abroad starting Monday so will be fairly frequently texting my catsitter friend.........Am thinking of you GrandMaw because sometimes the loss of a cat to an outsider is not totally understood - I cried on and off for 4 days when my dear 7 yr old cat was pts due to an incompetant vet mis-treating his symptoms and yes I have suffered the devastating loss of my Mum and Dad and other close relatives too. Love knows no bounds be it pets or relatives or friends as far as I am concerned. Bless you GrandMaw x
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