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Anyone got an old cat with an over-active thyroid?

60 replies

TheLemur · 05/01/2011 21:24

My cat is 13 and has been diagnosed via a blood test with an over-active thyroid (133 when it should be 60 or something?). The main symptoms are awful yowling, pulling his fur out, weight loss, eating & drinking more.

I'm going to see the vet tomorrow to discuss the options.

I think she will recommend medication but I'm worried about the cost, having to take the cat to have his blood tested periodically (he HATES going in the box/car, and pooed himself TWICE on the last vet visit which is only about 1/2 mile away), and having to get pills down him (which again he hates).

I'm wondering maybe it is kindest to do nothing? But then is he in pain? And if he is, how do I know when the time is right to PTS? Oh I don't know, I'm very confused.

OP posts:
MegBusset · 05/01/2011 21:34

Hyperthyroidism is usually pretty easy to control with medication - a tiny pill that's pretty easy to hide in food. You should notice a big improvement in his condition pretty quickly.

If left untreated it will lead to heart failure and death, not a very kind option imo.

TheLemur · 05/01/2011 21:45

OMG I did not know that it will lead to heart failure! OK. That is bad, thank you for filling me in. I guess this is why the vet wants to talk to me to explain it all tomorrow.

I am so greatly reassured by your first paragraph, thank you so much. Do you have a cat on the medication? If so are there side effects? Will he have to be on the tablets forever? Sorry I am a bit in the dark about all this!

OP posts:
ImeldaSnowboots · 05/01/2011 21:53

My cat is on the tablets, 2 daily and has been for several years, it costs about £30 for maybe 2 months tablets & she'll be on them for life. They like to do blood tests about twice/year and its better (cheaper! & less risky) if they can take blood without needing a general anaesthetic (ie, when you are holding the cat). If problem getting cat to take tabs you can crush them onto their food (easier if you only have one cat)

Hope this helps

MegBusset · 05/01/2011 21:53

Medication will have to be lifelong, yes - luckily the tablets aren't expensive. Our cat didn't have any side effects that I can remember.

I seem to remember there is a way to cure it completely by some kind of radiation treatment? I think we decided against this as our cat was old anyway and very nervous, she would have had to stay in hospital for a long time and it didn't seem right to put her through it.

Eventually she did suffer heart failure (went downhill very rapidly in a day or two and was obvious she needed to be PTS) but the medication bought her 18 months- 2 years of good quality life.

MegBusset · 05/01/2011 21:56

Btw some vets will do home visits, might be worth checking if you can have the bloods taken at home to save the stress. My cat used to poo the box every time too!

Avantia · 05/01/2011 22:02

My cat was about 15 when this happened . He had the thyroids taken out , had to monitor his calcium levels then for a while . Got another 3 years out of him.

Our other cat then came down with it at 18yrs old , managed it on medication for a while as I felt she was too old for surgery , sadly only lasted for another 6 months.

Quite common amongst elderly cats .

ravenAK · 05/01/2011 22:05

My elderly cat suffered from this.

We tried to get the medication right, but he fought against the pills, wouldn't touch any food we tried to hide them in, & vomited up much of the little he ate anyway Sad.

I took him back to the vet, & we agreed that he was miserable & we were just ineffectually staving off the inevitable: he was PTS.

Definitely worth trying the pills, though - as MegBusset says, they can sometimes buy another couple of years of healthy life for your cat.

posey · 05/01/2011 22:10

My cat is 16. Diagnosed about 6 months ago.
Is on one small tablet a day which gets hidden in his food.

The difference since starting the medication is huge. He looks better (fur much nicer), he has calmed down no end (he was totally hyperactive, not good for an old cat, he was going to have a heart attack at any time), he' stopped yowling, he's put on weight, he's more affectionate again...

Needs blood tests til his thyroid levels stabilse (got one on Fri). He doesn't like the vet but is okay. Speak to the vet re his awful anxiety at going there, but do get him treated, it really is worth it.

Teds77 · 05/01/2011 23:00

Family cat (was mine but was 'inherited' by the parents when I moved out) has been on the tablets for years now and is still going strong and is happy with the world! Could well be four or five years - she's 17 now.

One tablet a day hidden in food and blood tests twice a year.

It's only really in the last year that she's started to struggle with life a bit but that's much more about old age than the thyroid I think. Definitely worth giving them ago as your cat could enjoy many more years of life.

Lizcat · 06/01/2011 13:10

I guess your vet will discuss all the treatment options which fall into life long tablets, tablets till stable and then surgery to remove thyroids or finally euthanasia. I regularly treat cats both with lifeong medication and surgery both of which are very successful.

TheLemur · 06/01/2011 15:20

Thanks so much for all the encouraging replies, it seems this is a common problem!

The vet was lovely and talked everything over... The upshot is I've got a months supply of pills then we'll go back for a blood test to see if things have improved with the likelyhood he'll be on the tablets for life (if he'll take them!)

I know he'll hate going for blood tests and hate taking the pills but on balance this certainly seems the best option.

Thanks again for all your reassurance and advice. I'm hoping we see him getting back to normal pretty quickly!

OP posts:
Learning2Knit · 06/01/2011 22:21

Hi, my cat was diagnosed with this last year, we struggled a bit with the tablets to start with but now he has put on weight, fur improved, very happy etc, on Videlta as prescribed by the vet. I get a prescription from the vet and buy it online as it saves me about 50% of the cost (I pay approx £28 for 2 months worth of pills). My vet is very understanding re the fact I cant afford their costs and also fine with me taking him every 6 months for a blood test.

I have various "cunning" ways of giving him the pill as he is a fussy little whatsit. If you find it gets a struggle then let me know, Im no expert but have got to the point where I dont get stressed about it!

Hope all goes well.

RenniesFromHeaven · 09/01/2011 21:44


One of my elderly cats was diagnosed with this too. She looked a very shabby state - skinny, mad eyes, hair falling out in clumps. The tablets worked wonders (hidden in a teeny bit of cheese worked the best with her). She was eventually PTS but had another 2-3 years of happiness before she rapidly went down hill.

Definitely worth a try - and some patience with the pill-giving technique until you find a way that works for you. Maybe the vet can demonstrate some ways to help you with it?


rockinhippy · 13/01/2011 12:48

My old Cat was 19 when diagnosed with this, she was also epileptic & the thyroid made her extra jumpy which contributed to her fitting a lot more, the medication made a HUGE difference to her well being too, even at that great age she lasted another year before getting ill again with what they thought was likely Cancer,

Food for thought though, as my Parents 12yr old Abyssinian was also diagnosed with this & put on medication, she too improved a lot......

they moved towns, lots going on, & as she was well & they didn't yet have a week, they missed her medication for a week, noticed she seemed to get even better still, almost like a Kitten again, playing & purring & running around chasing flies in the Garden Confused.....

so they decided to wait & see & take her to a vet if she got ill again.....that was now years ago & she never has, New vet thinks there may of been something near their old house that she was eating, or getting on her fur & ingesting that way that caused the Thyroid problems, they'll likely never know what exactly, but they wonder if it was something to do with a motor repair place at the back of their old house Confused

rockinhippy · 13/01/2011 12:50

Confused didn't yet have a VET Blush ....I blame the drugsBlush

TheLemur · 17/01/2011 14:05

rockinhippy that's bizzaire! Aren't abyssinians like siamese in that they eat anything and everything?!

Thanks for all the comments everyone, my cat is certainly seeming a lot more settled and happy now he's been on the tablets for 10 days. I think he's putting on weight too Smile

He is learning to take the pills fine from me (I give him lots of fuss afterwards) however I went away this weekend and DH refused to put them down the cats throat so tried the "hiding them in cheese" technique. Unfortunately it didn't work - the cheese had to be a largish chunk to hide the pill and the cat chewed it into bits and ate the cheese but left the pill! DH also tried roast chicken and tuna but the cat avoided the pills.

Any ideas on how to get him to eat the tablets would be great please?!

OP posts:
Lizcat · 17/01/2011 16:27

Since my previous post I have diagnosed beautiful moggy girl with hyperthyroidism. I do use the cheese hiding technique, but I use primula cream cheese spread very small amount very sticky cat so busy licking lips from it does not notice tablet. If primula has run out I have also found very tiny bit of over ripe brie no ripe just enough to cover tablet if you mould round also works (thank goodness for that left over bit of christmas cheese). The piece I make is less than half a centimetre, but needs to be really sticky to have correct effect. Cheddar is useless.

HelenaDove · 11/06/2016 23:39

We have this problem with our 15 year old tabby and we cant get medication down her at all. She is refusing the thyroid food. We havent been given the thyroid drug in pill form We have been given it in liquid form in a stupid little fiddly pipette type thing like an injection syringe. Its just too fiddly. I press gently i cant get any out at all. I press harder and shitloads comes out onto my fingertip (I am wearing surgical gloves when i do it. Ive lost a lot of weight and i dont want my own thyroid buggered up. But thats not the problem. Its just too fiddly and i cant do it with the cat trying to get away as well. Theres no way this will work.

Mycraneisfixed · 11/06/2016 23:41

Go back to the vet and ask for tablets. They're tiny pink ones that you hide inside the soft food.

HelenaDove · 11/06/2016 23:55

Thanks Crane I will Thanks there is no way we can carry on like this especially as she will be on these meds indefinately.

SuburbanRhonda · 12/06/2016 10:44

Ask the vet to show you how to administer the tablets. My cat has been on them for 18 months. I have to give her two tablets in the morning and one in the evening. She's resigned to it now and is very cooperative.

chrisha100 · 13/06/2016 12:25

My cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism just a week ago. He is 11 years old. He has been prescribed Thiafeline (Thiamazole) 5mg daily. In order to get him to swallow this, I have to crush the pill up slightly (I use 2 spoons) and mix it in a small portion of Tuna. He happily polishes this off, I just worry that I am compromising the efficacy of the drug. However, there is no alternative way for me to get a pill inside of him - he won't have it. He's due another blood test in about 2 weeks and I am keeping my fingers crossed. Early signs are I think positive, as he doesn't seem quite as hungry as before.


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LynneB59 · 08/07/2016 23:19

Hello. My cat is about 15, and has an overactive thyroid. She was on pills, but got distressed by me having to give them to her. She's now on something called METHIMAZOLE GEL, which comes in filled syringes, and the prescribed dose is applied to her EAR, on the skin. I can even do this whilst she's sleeping! It's SO easy. It works out at about £20 per month. She has to have blood tests every couple of month as well. On top of that, my Stella has kidney failure and has just been prescribed SEMINTRA liquid, which she swallows with no bother. I AM paying quite a lot of money lately, but as she's probably nearing the end of her natural lifespan, I'll keep her well whilst she's got some quality of life left (she eats, drinks, uses the litter tray, sunbathes in the garden, likes a cuddle).

mypropertea · 09/07/2016 07:22

You can get a cream that is absorbed by there skin instead of pills. You just rub it on the inside of there ear. Obviously you have to where gloves but this may be an option if they like fuss?

WeirdAndPissedOff · 09/07/2016 12:07

I don't have any experience with thyroid problems, but we had a very fussy cat who needed medicating, and found that "easipill" works well.
It's like playdoh - you break off a bit and push the pill inside, and the cat thinks it's a treat. We never had any luck putting tablets in food, yoghurt etc but she loved this!

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