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Updates on the Herd

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
(Pictures can be found in this thread.)

We finally brought Tiffany and Zippy in to the vet. Neither one had gone in for 5-6 years due to Joe's parents becoming sick and passing away and us not officially 'adopting' them until recently. (More like inherited.)

So Tiffany was first, you can't really see it in the pictures but she has this weird hump between her shoulder blades. It comes and goes but she started scratching at it and making it bleed so we decided to get it checked out. As it turns out she has hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately there isn't much we can do; the vet doesn't think she can handle any kind of anesthesia due to her age and a heart murmur, but she's doing fine. She did need antibiotics for an infection from her scratching at the hump but other than that she's healthy. We did find out our original age estimate for her is a bit off, she's close to 14 years old.

Zippy just went in today and did a great job capturing all the vet staff's hearts lol. He's just such a sweet, gentle boy. We had noticed he has some difficulty getting around every now and then; we now know the reason why. He's 100% blind. He was always so stressed and scared all the time before that no one could really get close to him so now that he's settled down we were able to observe his behavior. He does such a great job navigating around we thought he may have been partially blind, not completely. No wonder why he didn't like being around the kids! He will have to go back to get the canine that sticks out removed; vet said it's loose and it'll likely fall out on its own if we don't have it pulled first. He's also a bit younger than we thought; he's only a few months older than Chaos.

So does anyone have tips for either of these conditions? They're both doing fine but if there's anything extra I can do for either one I'd gladly do it. We'll try not to rearrange anything for Zippy so he never gets "lost" and we do guide him (or pick him up and air lift him to his destination) if he gets confused or he's having a bad day. Tiffany, we already switched foods so she doesn't vomit so much. Both get all the food and attention they want and then some.
post #2 of 4
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication--Tapazole (generic name methimazole). If she is too hard to pill, the medicine can be compounded into treats, liquid, or a gel that can be rubbed on the ears. I'm very surprised that your vet didn't mention that as an option. There are two other treatments for hyperthyroidism as well--surgery to remove the thyroid gland and radioiodine treatment. Radioiodine has a high success rate, especially when it is used early on in the course of the disease. It is expensive however, as it has to be done at a special facility. It is a great option for cats who are good candidates and whose humans can afford to spend the money up front.

Did the vet take a sample of the tissue in the hump to see what it is? It could be anything, including a lipoma (benign fatty lump), an allergic reaction, or even cancer. The only way to know would be to take a sample, usually done via fine needle biopsy. Depending on the location of the lump and the cat's sensitivity to it, a fine needle biopsy might not even require anesthesia.

As of now, I don't have any experience with a fully blind cat. I'm sure others will come along and offer their advice.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Well, those were the initial findings for Tiffany, he did draw some cloudy liquid from the hump for testing, which is how he found the infection. They're not really sure what it is yet. It's not squishy at all, it's a hard mass. It doesn't really seem to bother her much and she hasn't had any health/behavior changes and according to Joe she's had it off and on for years.

I don't know why he didn't suggest the treatment either, but I also wasn't there so I can't really say. The surgery/radioactive iodine treatment is out of the question since she can't be anesthetized. The methimazole would be an option, we can give her oral medication without too much fuss as long as one person holds her while the other administers (she's declawed so she can be bitey).
post #4 of 4
Radioactive iodine actually doesn't require any anesthesia, so that wouldn't be ruled out. It is a single injection, so it is like giving any other shot. The cat is required to stay at a special facility for a few days (the number of days depends on state laws) so that the facility can handle the initial waste disposal. After the first few days, the cat comes home but is supposed to have limited exposure to humans in the household for the first few weeks as they will still be slightly radioactive. Honestly, the amount of radioactivity is tiny and is really only a concern for pregnant women and small children--humans get much larger doses of the same medicine and are sent home on the first day of treatment. The only other special instruction usually involves disposal of cat litter--they will either have you use a flushable litter or have you store the litter (not throw it out) for some period of weeks. This is because garbage processing plants will apparently detect radioactivity, so the litter has to be kept into the amount of radioactive material has sufficiently decayed (in my area, it was about 5 weeks after treatment).
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