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Hyperthyroidism Management

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My 18-year-old cat Lily was diagnosed this week with hyperthyroidism. I've started her on the medication Monday, 1/4 of a 10mg tablet of Tapazole twice daily. She will expend every bit of energy to avoid taking a pill, but I've managed to medicate her by crushing the pill and mixing it with Vita-Cal and stage 1 meat baby food. She continues to have an insatiable appetite so this is working well so far.

I was curious how those of you with hyperthyroid cats have dealt with helping them regain the weight they've lost as well as what you might have done to help their coat condition improve. Lily is a little over 5 pounds now ... in October, she was almost 7 pounds. She eats as often as I will feed her ... canned food only (Fancy Feast is her food of choice). I've been supplementing her food with 1 jar of the meat baby food daily as well as several doses of Vita-Cal. On alternate days, I mix her pill in with a few tablespoons of chunk light tuna in vegetable oil. Any other suggestions on what I can give her to help her regain some of her weight or what might work to satisfy her continual hunger? I'm hoping that once her thyroid is regulated, the hunger might subside somewhat ... it's a little inconvenient to have her meowing in my ear every couple of hours throughout the night!

She has multiple bald spots and very serious matting ... I've had no success in returning her coat to anything remotely resembling her normal coat, even with daily brushing. Are there any food additives that might help with this? A bath drives her into a foaming mouth frenzy, which can't possibly be good for her at her age and with her thyroid condition. Have any of you had any success with non-water bathing products?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 9

I would look into fastrack for her. It is a probiotic and it puts good weight on gradually and also helps the coat. You can find the dealer in our main Links section on this website under Health and Nutrition
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Hissy ... I will look into that.
post #4 of 9
As she's only just started on the meds, it will most likely take at least a week for her appetite to stabilise. After a few weeks, you'll notice a great improvement in her condition and coat. If her matting is beyond what you can fix at home, you can take her to a vet that does grooming or a reputable groomer. The advantage of the vet would be that they can sedate her very, very lightly if she needs it while being clipped and groomed. That way, there's far less stress for her, given her age.
post #5 of 9
By the way the Hyperthyroid meds can by given transdermally - via a jell rubbed into the cats inner ear - which works VERY well. Much less stressfull than pilling.

Please note that since your baby just recently was diagnosed he needs to have blood work done frequently to assure the right dosing.

Also have you considered ........(YES even in order Cats!!!)

Radioactive iodine therapy

Radioactive iodine (I 131 ) can be used to provide a safe and effective cure for hyperthyroidism. The radioactive iodine is taken up by active thyroid tissue, but not by any other body tissues. The radiation therefore selectively destroys all affected thyroid tissue, including any ectopic thyroid tissue that would be inaccessible to surgery, but spares adjacent normal tissues, including the parathyroid glands.

A single subcutaneous injection of I 131 is curative in around 95% of cases and in those cats where hyperthyroidism persists the treatment can be repeated. Very occasionally a permanent reduction in thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism) occurs following treatment, but thyroid hormone supplementation is rarely required. A high dose of I 131 is also the only effective treatment for most cases of thyroid adenocarcinoma.

The advantages of this treatment option are that it is curative, has no serious side-effects, does not require an aesthetic and is effective in treating all affected thyroid tissue at one time, regardless of the location of the tissue. However, it does involve the handling and injection of a radioactive substance. This carries no significant risk for the patient, but precautionary protective measures are required for people who come into close contact with the cat. For this reason the treatment can only be carried out in a specially licensed facility and the cat must be kept in the licensed hospital unit until the radiation level has fallen to within acceptable limits after 96 hrs.

For further information please go to the below link and to page 4 & 5 of the newsletter.


Please give your baby plenty of huggs for me.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Tania and Helen, for your advice and input. I have had Lily groomed at the vet in the past ... she's always been prone to coat problems, although never anything as unsightly as she's become over the last month or two. I had just hoped to spare her more trips to the vet, since they are always unsettling to her.

Helen, have you had the radioactive iodine therapy done for one of your babies? I spoke with the vet about it when Lily was diagnosed, but he wasn't really enthusiastic about it. I had researched it and it certainly seemed like the best solution to Lily's problem, despite the relatively long period away from home. The vet did promise me that he would contact the nearest facility that performs the radioactive iodine treatment to find out cost and the length of time she is estimated to stay. I'm thinking that the overall cost will be less than $200 worth of bloodwork every 3 months plus either $19 for the pills every month or almost $60 per month for the transdermal gel. I'm not sure how well Lily will like the transdermal gel formulation of the medicine. She's always been a bit touchy about her ears and I have a tough time getting ear medicines in her ears on those times they've been prescribed. The pharmacy can compound the medicine in an oral suspension so I may try that.

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions!

post #7 of 9
I have no personal experience - but I know 3 people who have had the procedure done and rave about it. One cat was 17 the other 19 and the third was 15. Note the time away from home is ONLY 96 hrs = 4 DAYS!

If you check the news letter I have attached they will confirm it.

Personally I would do it in a heartbeat if needed. Cost is approx $1,100.

Good luck
post #8 of 9
There's an article on hyperthyroidism in the June issue of Cat Fancy, BTW. The radioiodine therapy isn't available for cats here in Germany, but I know from another site that some people here take their cats to the US for treatment (Florida seems to be the most popular option - I guess they combine it with a vacation).
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, Helen, for the newsletter. I'll definitely speak with my vet about following up on the radioiodine treatment.

Thanks, Tricia, for the heads-up about the hyperthyroidism article in Cat Fancy. I'll sure see if I can retrieve it.
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