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Excessive shedding - Cushing's?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I know there are a lot of posts about excessive shedding but none really seem to address my problem. I have a 16-17 year-old male tabby that has always had a shedding problem. The groomers always hated when we brought him in. Lately though it seems to have gotten worse. I can brush him and brush him and it's like the hair regrows as fast as I can get it out.

As a little bit of a background, he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism about 6 months ago and was treated with radioactive iodine in Novemeber. His T4 levels have normalized and his BUN was 31 - 3 months after the treatment, which is only 1 point above the upper limit.

Wherever he lays or sits he leaves little clumps of fur and "hairs" everything. The vet is thinking that he might have Cushing's disease. He said that he still has his winter coat from a year ago. It is warming up though so he should probably be shedding more than usual I'm assuming.

Over the last 2-3 months it seems like he is drinking more and when I clean out the litter box there are big chunks of urine. Renal failure is always a concern after treating hyperthyroidism as it can mask it but his levels were satisfactory given his age following the treatment. The excessive shedding, drinking and urination are all symptoms of Cushing's disease, along with other things. It's possible he is developing kidney problems which would explain the the drinking and urination. Cushing's is fairly rare from what i understand, which is why the vet wants his partner to examine him as he is more of a cat expert. They'll also recheck his labs.

He is a very high-strung and neurotic fellow. He gets spooked very easily and it seems to have gotten worse over the last 6 months or so, maybe just since the thyroid treatment. Not sure if there's a correlation. At night if I reach over and pet him and he doesn't see me coming he lets out a big "MEOW" and sometimes jumps up. I've read nervousness can cause excessive shedding. He doesn't excessively groom himself so that's not it. In fact, I rarely see him grooming himself at all!

Any ideas or similar experiences?

Thanks for reading!
post #2 of 13
My first thought is to recheck the thyroid levels. Both excessive thirst and hair loss are signs of too much thyroid..... maybe the dosage needs to be readjusted?
And I'm usre you know that it takes thirty days for the effects of a dosage change to show up in the bloodwork - even longer for symptoms to change.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom of 4 View Post
My first thought is to recheck the thyroid levels. Both excessive thirst and hair loss are signs of too much thyroid..... maybe the dosage needs to be readjusted?
And I'm usre you know that it takes thirty days for the effects of a dosage change to show up in the bloodwork - even longer for symptoms to change.
I see we're on the same forums. I won't repeat everything from the other forum other than he's not on medication as it was a one-time treatment. Everything appears to have normalized and the veterinary center that did the procedure said there is no reason to check it again if it's normal at the 3 month mark. It certainly won't hurt anything but the pocketbook though
post #4 of 13
I have a dog with cushings and in cats IT IS VERY rare.. but Kidney is common in cats over 10 ... I would get a complete blood panel mius the cushings test s which are a small fortune...
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I have a dog with cushings and in cats IT IS VERY rare.. but Kidney is common in cats over 10 ... I would get a complete blood panel mius the cushings test s which are a small fortune...
Yeah, he was describing the test and it sounded very involved which equals $$$. I'm sure they'll do a full panel before testing for Cushing's. If not I'll insist. The bloodwork is enough by itself. With all his levels being normal a month or two ago, it just seems weird that he would develop problems so fast. Hopefully it's nothing serious. I guess it could just be that he sheds a lot and there's nothing really to do about it.
post #6 of 13
I don't know about cats... but such treatments for hyperthyroidism in people can sometimes make them go hypo later. I'd ask them to recheck, tell them you don't care what they think, you want to make sure. They'll be taking blood anyways so it's not like you'll be making them go out of their way.
post #7 of 13
I would have to dissagree with the vet saying there is no reason to recheck the thyroid levels. Even after treatment, thyroid levels change. Especially if there is something else going on. radioactive iodine isn't a cure. In fact, what it cam do is destroy the thyroid gland and stop production of thyroid hormone all together. Thereby making the aninmal or human hyopothyroid. So it doesn't make sense to not check thyroid levels regularly (every 6 months is about the norm and sooner if having problems.) If a vet told me there was no need to test after this treatment, I would seek out a second opinion. Hair loss can also be a symptom of hypothyroid. Many of the symptoms of both hypo and hyper can be the same. Thyroid function tests are fairly cheap and worth it since the thyroid affects everything in our bodies.

Take a look at the excerpt (below) from an article taken from the following link: Radioactive Iodine Treatment of Hyperthyroidism


<<<<<Although attempting to lower thyroid function to normal with "low dose" radioactive iodine may appear desirable, this approach has several disadvantages:

* less than one-third of patients have normal thyroid function 10 years after therapy.
* "Low-dose" radioactive iodine therapy is more likely to result in treatment failure, necessitating another treatment in 6 to 24 months.
* Many patients treated with "low-dose" radioactive iodine continue to have sub-clinical hyperthyroidism with its associated risks of heart rhythm disturbances and reduced bone density.
* Patients who develop normal thyroid function shortly after radioactive iodine therapy subsequently develop hypothyroidism at a rate of 2 to 3 percent per year. Hypothyroidism may occur at a time when the presence of thyroid disease is no suspected resulting in delayed diagnosis. The rate of developing late hypothyroidism in this group of patients is the same in the "low-dose" & "high-dose" group.
* Recurrent hyperthyroidism is more frequent after "low-dose" radioactive iodine. Recurrences generally occur soon after treatment & require retreatment.>>>>>
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hmm. That's interesting. I thought I had really done my research prior to having it done. The link you referenced is for humans, but I'm sure much of it still holds true for animals. I still think it was the best option given the alternatives. I may have to check on the recommendations for having it rechecked. It may very well have said to have it checked yearly or at 6 months. Those may have just been the recommendations immediately following the treatment.

Thanks.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, the other vet saw him yesterday and did some bloodwork. His T4 level came back fine. (It's been 6 months since the radioactive iodine treatment). All his kidney values came back a little elevated though. In January his BUN was 36. Yesterday it was 41. Creatinine was 2.2 I believe. There was one other that was elevated slightly but I can't remember what it was right now. So we're putting him on a kidney diet and will recheck in 6-8 weeks. He's not at all concerned about Cushing's and said that the excess shedding is probably related to old age and hormones. Frequent brushing is probably the only real solution in his opinion.
post #10 of 13
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=119727

long but well worth the reading
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just an update. I took TC to a new vet last week and got a full workup. Everything came back pretty normal. Either his BUN or creatine was slightly elevated but the other was normal, can't remember which one now. So that's good news. I had noticed that he didn't seem to be urinating as much. I had also been out of the k/d for about a week or two. I never did have him solely on that either, I usually mixed the k/d and regular food. She still would like to see him on the k/d but I'm not sure how I feel about it.

She heard a heart murmur which he has had for a long time. She said this one was about a grade III and wants to do an echo. I told her I am going to hold off on that for now. She was talking about different meds and everything we could put him on but he's had this murmur for most of his life and just had an echo back in November and that vet didn't think it was an issue, so I'm not real inclined to start worrying about it now. They did x-rays and his heart looked normal size, along with kidneys and liver. So overall seems to be in pretty good health for his age. His WBC count was elevated so she started him on Clavamox. He's been sneezing off and on for a couple of months. I really only notice it when he jumps up on the bed, not sure if there's a connection there. He doesn't have any type of discharge but I guess it's possible he has a respiratory tract infection. If the antibiotics clear it up then we'll know.
post #12 of 13
my patchy sheds like crazy due to her food allergies. she refuses to eat prescription food so i just have to put up with shedding and dirty nasty ears LOL

have you looked into food allergies?
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by courtney_ou View Post
my patchy sheds like crazy due to her food allergies. she refuses to eat prescription food so i just have to put up with shedding and dirty nasty ears LOL

have you looked into food allergies?
No, I actually haven't. He's been on various foods throughout the years and just recently have I tried keeping him on the same one. I'll have to look more into it. His ears also get really nasty too but they didn't really know why. Said there was no infection or mites and just gave me some wipes to use. I'll have to check more into food allergies. Thanks!
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