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Over-active thyroid in cats - any experience / advice?

14 replies

SelectAUserName · 26/03/2014 11:34

SelectACat was diagnosed with an over-active thyroid about a fortnight ago. She has been prescribed vidalta tablets and is starting to stabilise; hasn't had second bloods yet (due in a fortnight) but is starting to regain the weight.

She is a nightmare to get the tablets into. We can physically do it by scruffing her and using one of those syringe-y pill-popper things, but she hates it (DH has the scratches to prove it) and is stressed out about it so we are seeing less and less of her as she disappears whenever we walk into the room she is in, hides under the bed etc. Prior to this she was an affectionate cat who loved to curl up on DH of an evening, so it's a really notable - if understandable - change.

We have four options:

  1. continue on the tablets for the rest of her life. She's only eleven so potentially this could be for many years.

  2. an operation to remove the affected gland, which could be one or both. Obviously this has risks and doesn't negate the possibility of the problem recurring in the future. She is in good general health apart from her thyroid and has had an anaesthetic for a dental with no problems in the past. Likely cost £300-400.

  3. radioactive iodine treatment. This would involve her being kept in a special unit for 1-2 weeks while radioactive. The big risk being that if she developed any secondary infection she would have to be PTS, no question, as her radioactivity would preclude any nursing. Likely cost £1700-2000.

  4. special diet. She is an incredibly fussy eater; she likes one flavour of one brand and nothing else, so we've pretty much ruled this option out, plus it would make having future cats very difficult to manage.

    She is insured but due to her age we have to pay 20% of all treatment costs in addition to the excess.

    Has anyone had a cat of a similar age with this problem, and what treatment option did you plump for? Pros, cons, anything to be aware of?
OP posts:
thecatneuterer · 26/03/2014 11:37

I've had quite a lot of cats with this. They have all had meds for about a month to stablilise, then the op. None of them have had to have the second one removed, all came through the op with no problems and, crucially, all were completely cured.

So if an op is an option, then that would certainly be my first choice.

SelectAUserName · 26/03/2014 11:43

Thanks TCN, that's helpful and encouraging. The op is my and DH's preferred option, risks notwithstanding, but as this is my first hyper-thyroid cat in 20 years of cat ownership, it's not something I know much about or have experience of.

OP posts:
negrilbaby · 26/03/2014 14:46

My cat was diagnosed about 2 1/2 years ago. Her medication has been steadily increased and she is now on 3x 5mg tablets a day. She is 18 years old. The medication is about £55 a month.
She takes the tablets happily now (using a pill popper) because she knows it is followed by food - which she is always, always always looking for.
For a younger cat I would go for the op.

chemenger · 26/03/2014 19:44

My cat had radio iodine treatment. Before that she was on pills which we hid in those treat sticks with no problems. The treatment went really well, they have a very thorough check up before hand which makes the chance of a problem coming up while they can't be treated minimal. I would recommend it, but it depends on the cat. Long term medication was not going to work for us because she is not easy to handle so the regular blood tests, which would have needed sedation were not practical.

Fluffycloudland77 · 26/03/2014 20:01

I'd go for the op too. There's no point you all being miserable & bleeding all over the place.

msjasonbourne · 26/03/2014 23:06

My cat had the radio active iodine treatment about 3 years ago when she was 10. Trying to give her tablets long term was going to be too difficult. She was about 5 weeks at the Langford vets and the treatment was very successful. Once she came home the radio activity disappeared over the next couple of weeks. It was about £2000 and I had to pay 20% excess. The monthly premiums went up about 30% at the next renewal. But I would recommend it too.

SelectAUserName · 27/03/2014 05:21

Thanks everyone.

OP posts:
BurnThisDiscoDown · 27/03/2014 09:44

Our DCat had the op a few years ago - the vet recommended it as the tablets don't work forever and they often need the op anyway. She's also awful to get tablets into! She recovered quickly after the op and gained weight steadily, and is still ok a few years later. Smile

minsmum · 27/03/2014 09:48

My cat has it and is on tablets but he is nearly 21 so we can't risk the opportunity and in fairness the vet did not suggest it. If he was younger though I think we would take that option

minsmum · 27/03/2014 09:50

Flipping auto correct I mean op

Goblinchild · 27/03/2014 09:52

Ours had the op, and a special renal diet to deal with other issues he was having. Was fine, no problems with the op at all.
Much less stressful than the tablets.

SelectAUserName · 30/04/2014 10:32

Hi, just thought I'd come back to update.

After a couple of (very stressful, for us and her) weeks on Vidalta, SelectACat's levels were back within normal range so we made the decision to put her through the operation. She had a unilateral thyroidectomy last week and apart from some minor vomiting as a reaction to the post-op painkiller she was given, she is doing really well. She still has an increased appetite but she has a fair bit of lost weight to make up. She is bright and active in herself and, best of all, now that the daily tablet trauma has stopped, she is starting to return to the affectionate cat we know her to be. Grin

Obviously it's still very early days and there's no guarantee that the other half of her thyroid may not fail in due course, but for now it looks as though we made the right decision in going for the op.

Thanks again for all your help and experiences.

OP posts:
MagicSwirlinShip · 30/04/2014 11:02

Glad to hear your cat is on the mend. My mum's cat also has an overactive thyroid (so do I funnily), he is nearly 16 and she doesn't want to put him through an operation so is continuing with the tablets and he's doing well. She gives him them every morning either pressed into a bit of chicken (spoiled cat!) or in a lump of philadelpia cheese. He eats them most of the time.

GRW · 30/04/2014 16:34

I'm glad your cat has done well after the operation. I have a 17 year old cat on tablets for this, and so far she takes the tablets really well rolled up in a small piece of cheddar cheese. She is so much better and has stopped being sick since being on the tablets. My vet said he wouldn't recommend surgery, due to her age and the fact that she's tolerating the tablets well.

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