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post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So we took Tigger to the vet today (and lets just say she did NOT enjoy the car ride) because she has been losing weight recently. They ran a bunch of blood tests and a urinalysis, updated her vaccines, etc, and discovered a tumor on her thyroid. We have to give her 5mg Methimazole tablets for the next 15 days to see if we can stabilize it. We're hoping she will be fine and everything will level out for her. We want to do everything we can to keep her having a happy healthy life in her senior years The vet recommended radiation therapy as well.

Anyone have any experience with radiation therapy for hyperthyroidism? They gave us a pamphlet with her receipts telling us that it will eliminate the disease and has a high success rate.

We were very releived when we found out it was something "do-able" rather than, say, FeLV, FIV, or a malignant cancer.
post #2 of 10
I, too, have a cat with hyperthyroidism and have recently been looking into the radioactive treatment. From what I've been told it's fairly safe and the success rate is good (depending on how bad the condition is). It can be somewhat expensive, for my cat it would be around $1150.00 but I think that this is a better alternative than having to try and give a reluctant cat pills every single day. In the long run I think it would be worse on him if he's up and down because of the odd missed dose. Shadow takes 7.5mg of Tapazol twice a day. Since it's going to take me a couple of months to get the money together I'm going to try a liquid version of the medication. My vet is checking to see if there is a transdermal which would be applied to the ear and absorbed through the skin.

Best of luck with your kitty!
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hmm, $1150 wouldnt be too bad really. One of my previous kitties had a tumor in his nose, and radiation would have cost upwards of $5000 - they said it *may* work, and he'd only have 10 months max after that. It sounds like the radiation treatment would be better in this scenario. Plus, the medication (methimazole) costs $37 for a 15 day supply! We will be discussing all our options with the vet next Sunday, and seeing if her hormone levels are stabilized.
post #4 of 10
Have you tried Pill Pockets? Some of my cats take meds this way. It is a soft treat that you put the pill inside and the cat eats the treat. One of my cats had his meds compounded at the Animal Pharmacy online. They did a good job and he ate them up. Another cat has her meds smashed and given in a bit of food or sour cream or baby food. It has to be rotated for her; she's a toughy.

I had a cat with a thyroid problem, but she was easy to pill and tapezol worked well for her. That was many years ago, so they may not have had the radiation then.
post #5 of 10
I highly recommend the I-131, especially if it can be done early in the disease. If it is done later (i.e. after the cat has been untreated or on Tapazole for years), it requires higher and often multiple rounds of radioiodine, so doing it early is definitely the best way to go. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way, as my Spot was untreated for who knows how long before I found him, and then on methimazole for several months before we tried the treatment. Unfortunately, he also had a heart condition that took him before we could see if the second dose would have cured him.

That said, I would still have the treatment done in a heartbeat if one of my current or future cats is diagnosed. In addition to being much easier to deal with than the pills, it is a cure rather than a treatment. With methimazole, the cat's levels still have a tendency to spike as the half life of the medicine tends to be pretty short. How often are you giving the pills? If it's not twice per day (either a quarter or half a tab), I would call the vet back and ask why. Twice per day dosing helps keep the T4 levels much more stable than once per day dosing.
post #6 of 10
Originally Posted by Tara & Rob
Plus, the medication (methimazole) costs $37 for a 15 day supply!
I'm using the same medication that you are but that seems a bit high to me. I have 120 pills and I don't think they cost me more than $30 or $40. That being said I picked them up from a pharmacy where I get all of my prescriptions filled and they probably used my insurance to cover some of the cost. I'm not sure, though.
post #7 of 10
I would definitely look into getting it from a local pharmacy as well. The pharmacy I went to charged about $27 for a month's supply (usually 45 pills in Spot's case). Walgreen's sells 90 tabs for $36 and drugstore.com sells 90 for $31. You can get a written prescription from your vet to be filled at a normal, human pharmacy or ask your vet to call in the prescription to the pharmacy of your choice.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
We are going to give her the 2 week supply we have right now, and are reading up on I-131. We think that'll probably be a better option, rather than trying to pop pills the rest of her (what we hope is years more!) life. We'd rather eliminate it than only treat it/stabilize it. She definitely wasnt a happy cat this morning. We will be looking for some of the suggestions mentioned on easier pill giving today when we are out. We hope the rest of the family plans on chipping in, since she is technically the family cat (although we tend to be the ones to feed her and give her undivided attention 99% of the time).

I think the rules are different by state, but how long did anyone's I131 cats have to stay secluded? Rob's upset by the thought of having to leave her alone in a strange place for a long period of time (The TN law said 5-24 days with no visitation), we are not sure of the SC law, as we havent found a website out of SC yet. Leaving her alone for 3 hours at the vet yesterday didnt go too well with him either! I've always hated leaving my cats at vets too.

I should tell them that I am trained in Radioactive handling due to my work environment Maybe then they'd let me keep her at home right off the bat. Humans go home after I131 injections here, so why not cats?
post #9 of 10
Unfortunately, I don't think they'd let you bring her home right away--they tend to be really strict and silly about the rules, even though humans get to go home the same day after receiving higher doses. There appear to be two places in South Carolina that do the I-131 treatment - Radiocat in Greenville and South Carolina Veterinary Internal Medicine (SCVIM) in Columbia.

The stay at SCVIM is between 5 and 7 days; cats are brought in on Tuesday and the treatment is done on Wednesday (http://www.scvim.com/Downloads/20074612725.PDF). The length of the stay depends on the cat--they measure the cat's level of radioactivity and when it reaches a certain level, they can go home (http://www.scvim.com/Downloads/200736858.pdf).

Radiocat's stay is about 3 to 5 days (probably depends on the state, as they are a chain). http://www.radiocat.com/index.htm

Regardless of the place, I would suggest bringing an old T-shirt that you don't care about (they can't return them) that smells like you to help her feel more comfortable. If she gets stressed being in the cage, ask whether they can put a cardboard box in there with her (I'd probably ask about this before deciding where to go). That way, she can hide and feel safer.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
We tried the Pill Pockets (salmon flavor) since they didnt have a plastic pill popper like my mom had way back for our cats. She devoured it! I tested her with the scent afterwards, because we figured if she could tell a pill was in there, she wouldnt like it again. She went nuts sniffing my fingers looking for more So I'm glad that seems to be working for now, until we talk the I-131 over with our vet next Sunday.

Leaving a tshirt with her sounds like a good plan if they have to keep her for a couple days to a week. We will also ask about a cardboard box for her to hide in if she wants. Hopefully there are radiation places closer than Greenville and Columbia - Gville is ~2-3 hours away, Columbia is ~1.5 hours away. I believe the vet mentioned to Rob that there are a couple specialty radiation places in Mt Pleasant and North Charleston, which are ~20 miles away. If the further away places are the only options, we definitely WILL go that far to make Tigger better again.
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