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hyperthyroidism treatments

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I used to post on here a lot, but disappeared for a while.

One of my cats, PJ, just went to the vet and had a senior panel done. We never had any values on her, and she's about 10-11 years old (the vet isn't sure about that - he thinks she might be younger.). Anyway, everything came back totally normal - she's a beautiful, active, normal tortico! However, her thyroid was just a little high (he said normal is 0.8-4, and PJ's was 4.8). The vet wants to retest in about 2 months and then determine a course of treatment then if the level is higher, or if she's lost weight.

She's lost about 2 pounds in the past year - we thought mostly because she's really active now since we got her a friend, Teddy. They chase each other around all the time so she gets lots of exercise, and we don't feed them any extra junk (they're on IVD duck and pea because Teddy has IBD and will eat anything placed in front of him). So some of the weight loss may be due to this elevation in thyroid.

I find this all fascinating since I myself have hypothyroidism - so I'm lethargic and gained a lot of weight - naturally, the opposite from PJ.

The vet has said that between the pills and the repeated blood tests that he would want to do to check on PJ, the cost for that would be more than having the radiation/iodine treatment and getting her taken care of in one shot. I trust this vet immensely (the radiation is of no profit to him, he has to refer me to another clinic for it) and will definitely consider this because PJ is my baby and I want her around for a long time.

So, what are your experiences with pills vs. radiation for hyperthyroidism? PJ is a TERRIBLE piller and I really don't want to traumatize her with daily pills. If there are any good informational websites out there about hyperthyroidism, please let me know! I haven't looked yet, but I'm about to.


post #2 of 2
There is a great group on yahoo called feline-hyperT. That would be a great starting place where you could hear everyone's experiences though you have to become a member. In terms of costs, the radioiodine treatment is less expensive in the long run. I figured out that with one of the clinics in my state, the pills and tests will cost more after two years than having the radioiodine treatment performed initially. Basically, if the cat lives more than two years, I will be saving a bunch of money (my HyperT baby is a recent rescue, so I don't know his history prior to September).

The one caveat I have is that most vets recommend that the cat is stabilized on Tapazole for about a month to check the kidney values. The high T4 values can mask early kidney failure, so by getting the kitty stable on Tapazole first, you can make sure her kidneys are healthy. Most of the people on the Yahoo group highly recommend that you have the radioiodine treatment done if you can afford the upfront cost. The pills are a way to treat the symptoms, whereas the radioiodine is a cure.

If you do end up putting PJ on Tapazole initially, you can ask your vet about having it made into a gel at a compounding pharmacy. That way, you can rub it on her ears instead of trying to force a pill down her throat. I'm lucky in that my HyperT baby is good at taking his pills most of the time.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me and I'll do my best to answer.
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