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Hyperthyroidism in elderly cats

6 replies

GRW · 06/03/2014 20:19

Does anyone have any experience if this?
My beautiful old lady cat has been been found to have this. She is 17 and has been losing weight over the past year, but still eats well and seems ok in herself apart from occasional vomiting. She has been given a prescription low iodine diet by the vet which I will start tomorrow, and she will have another blood test in 3 weeks time.
I would be interested to know if others have found the diet is effective in controlling it. I don't think I would want to put her through surgery to remove the thyroid gland at her age.

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Lonecatwithkitten · 06/03/2014 22:54

I have not had any success with the diet though I know other have. Much more success with tablets and routinely remove thyroids. All cats having the surgery are old and the surgery is short (15mins).

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MoJangled · 07/03/2014 23:01

My 17 year old cat has this. She has always been neurotic and a terrible pill-taker, so I tried everything to avoid having to give her the tablets, right up to importing a special herbal medicine for hyperthyroidism from the States. That was unpalatable and didn't work (have 2 bottles if anyone wants to try it) the diet food was refused and she got even thinner, and eventually in despair we tried the tablets. She's calmer and gaining weight, vomiting much less and shouts less at night. Should have done it months/years ago. She hates taking them, but it's a 5 minute sulk, not the previous neurotic retreat under the furniture for days. The only thing is that her temperature regulation has dropped and she spends most of the time sitting on a pretty hot radiator, and lies on me all night. The meds and associated blood tests do add up too. Need to go back for more blood tests next week, but despite the impending bill I'm sure this is the right way to go.

The other thing that might be worth investigating is your cats diet. I was horrified to find out that the diet I was feeding my cats, which I thought was pretty good (no 4% chicken Go Cat) was actually terrible. If you have a Pets at Home near you it might be worth a chat, their staff are well-trained and they can tell you loads. My amateurish interpretation is that cats are obligate carnivores and the more non-meat stuff in their food (rice, cereals, veg, etc) the worse it us for them, and the more non-actual -meat, ie chicken derivatives (feet, feathers, beak) rather than chicken meat, the worse it us. The poorer the food, the more likely they are to have metabolic bad digestive disorders, chucking up or overeating. Cats would naturally eat dozens of small meals a day (think one mouse) rather than 2 big ones, so little and often feeding is better for them. I'm sticking to Applaws, Canagan, Ziwipeak, Natures Nenu, and Lily's kitchen (even Hills and Iams don't measure up) and have definitely seen a difference.

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timtam23 · 07/03/2014 23:16

My old cat had an overactive thyroid nearly 2 years ago, he was 16 at the time. We tried tablets which he hated but would eventually take after a struggle, but unfortunately he became very ill on them (they affected his blood cells and he became anaemic & also had low white blood cells). So he couldn't have the tablets any more & we opted for surgery to remove half of his thyroid. I was a bit worried about the risk of an op but the vet was really reassuring and said it was one of the operations they did most frequently, and the vast majority of the cats undergoing the op were elderly. The op was successful and the cat bounced back from it really quickly. He was in & out on the same day and hasn't needed any treatment for his thyroid since then. Unfortunately he has since then developed other problems of high blood pressure and he has gone blind so there is no way that he would now be able to have any anaesthetic - so I'm glad we went for the op when we had the chance - he was in good physical shape at that time. If your cat is in good health now, I would suggest giving serious consideration to the surgical option. There is also radioiodine treatment but we ruled that out for various reasons (his age being a big factor, as we would not have expected to have many more years with him - it would not have been paid for by insurance so would have been very expensive for us & not really worth it compared to the cost of the op)
If the remaining half of my cat's thyroid were to become overactive now, the special food would be our only option but I haven't heard of massive success with it and I'm not sure the cat would even eat it (he is being pampered in his old age and prefers luxury cat food!)

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intheround · 07/03/2014 23:22

If you are using the special diet then its really important she has nothing else. At all. It works because it's iodine free.

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GRW · 08/03/2014 20:38

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Molly isn't keen on the diet and keeps trying to steal my other cats food, so I have asked the vet for tablets. It is good to hear that surgery can be successful even in a cat of this age. She is a rescue cat and I was told she was 5 when I got her from the RSPCA 12 years ago,so she could be older. She was a big fat cat when I got her, but has lost a lot of weight over the past few months.

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cozietoesie · 08/03/2014 20:42

Seniorboy had a fairly lengthy GA op at 16 and came through fine. It's no guarantee, I know, but I think Lone said that the thyroid op was only a shortish one?

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