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Hyperthyroid and methimazole transdermal gel

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
We have had a long arduous struggle with our kitty's diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I would appreciate anyone else's comments!

We have two kitties, siblings, and raised together until their present age of 5 years. The male has had irritable bowel syndrome, so it has always been a challenge to find just the right food for him, that will not give him vomiting and profound diarrhea. We did find the perfect one for him (for now)....a dry food of green pea and rabbit, alternated with green pea and duck. He will get a "treat" every once in a while of the canned form of these, but too much, and it triggers a diarrhea attack.

Our female has always been fine, tolerating the changes in the diet along with her brother, and staying healthy. Until about 4-6 weeks ago, she started losing incredible amounts of weight. We didn't monitor exactly how much she was eating (free feeding), but thought maybe she didn't like the dry food, so we supplemented with quality canned food (separate from the male).

Finally a trip to the vet (a VERY traumatic experience, which we will NOT repeat) revealed high thyroid levels. I got copies of the laboratory work, which showed values of 75. A normal high thyroid is about 50. That particular vet said "we will just wait a couple months and see what happens."

We were unhappy with that vet for several other reasons, so decided to make a change. We found a wonderful vet who makes house calls, so the traumatic car ride and office visit was never to be repeated. When he looked at the lab work and examined her, his thought was that she would be dead in two months if untreated. So he started her on methimazole transdermal gel, which we place in the pinna of her ear twice daily.

My question is this: has anyone had their kitty recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism? I understand the weight loss (ours has gone from a normal weight of 12 pounds to just over 6!), and the incredible appetite (we are feeding ours at least 4 times daily). But there is also an amazing amount of aggression between the two cats. She has always been a sweet, loving sister cat to her brother, grooming him day and night. But in the past month, we have had to keep them isolated in separate rooms of the house. She hisses and growls and attacks him if they are left alone for even a minute.

Anyone have any idea if this is also the hyperthyroid? And how long before the drug "kicks in"? We have a follow up appointment with the house call vet on April 24.

Help! I would dearly love input from others!
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittycatlover
We have had a long arduous struggle with our kitty's diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I would appreciate anyone else's comments!


We were unhappy with that vet for several other reasons, so decided to make a change. We found a wonderful vet who makes house calls, so the traumatic car ride and office visit was never to be repeated. When he looked at the lab work and examined her, his thought was that she would be dead in two months if untreated. So he started her on methimazole transdermal gel, which we place in the pinna of her ear twice daily.

My question is this: has anyone had their kitty recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism? I understand the weight loss (ours has gone from a normal weight of 12 pounds to just over 6!), and the incredible appetite (we are feeding ours at least 4 times daily). But there is also an amazing amount of aggression between the two cats. She has always been a sweet, loving sister cat to her brother, grooming him day and night. But in the past month, we have had to keep them isolated in separate rooms of the house. She hisses and growls and attacks him if they are left alone for even a minute.

Anyone have any idea if this is also the hyperthyroid? And how long before the drug "kicks in"? We have a follow up appointment with the house call vet on April 24.

Help! I would dearly love input from others!
I've never heard of such a young cat getting hyperthyroidism, but it is relatively common in elderly cats.

My elderly sweetie pea Tess had hyperthyroidism, took the meds, and lived another 4-5 years with treatment (she was 17 when diagnosed). Her weight dropped rapidly 12 to 6 llbs also, and she ate and ate and ate alllllll day! just to lose more weight. We accused her of having a hollow leg

As far as the amt of time the drug kicks in - you will have to be patient. Every cat needs its own individual plan and respond in different time frames. The usual treatment is to do the lab - in your case her T3? T4 ? (not sure which one is 75) is over the normal range. The vet will try X amt to treat it, then retest, check the reading again and adjust accordingly. She may need 10mg/day for ex., but her levels keep going up or wont go down so the med amt will go up, then a retest, etc...(I hope I explained that clearly). I'm not sure how much your vet will re-test to get the levels right. I have a hyperthyroid myself and I get checked every 4-6 wks and get adjusted accordingly and rechecked. Once Tess's initial labs and treatmetn were done with frequent lab testing, she stabelized and had to be checked only every 6 mns.

I'm v. happy to hear you caught it early. It's a disease that keeps getting worse and worse if not treated quickly, and my cat was never able to regain her weight (although I was able to regain mine unfortuantely )

As far as the aggression, my cat stayed mellow, but for myself personally, I was very irritable and belligerent all the time, a symptom of Graves. Until my levels got a bit more normal I was pissed at everyone all the time "just because" and EVERYTHING irritated me. I dont know if this would be true with a cat, but that's my take on it.
post #3 of 27
My PJ is 12, and has hyperthyroidism. We've been dealing with it for about a year. The first sign in her was also the weight loss, so off to the vet she went.

We did the transdermal gel in her ears for about 9 months, after which she began losing weight again. Our vet felt that perhaps it wasn't being absorbed as well as it should be, so we had our compounding pharmacy make it into a fish flavored liquid, which she eats right up.

After the initial transdermal use, and now, after this oral medication, the vet has asked to check PJ 4-6 weeks after the new medication. We wait 6 weeks to make sure that she's had a nice long course of medicine. The other thing that you might want to ask for is, in addition to the thyroid tests, tests for other stuff that could make her behave differently - she could be trying to tell you something else is wrong.

Oh, one more thing if you end up going from the transdermal to the oral - if you cat eats up all the liquid, you might only need to use it once a day. PJ has been on the liquid 2x a day since her transdermal was 2x, but we noticed she's gotten a little fatter then we expected. So, she's getting the medicine and it's working, and now that it's working, she might not need as much as the transdermal, since she wasn't getting it all then. (Does that make sense? I'm tired... sorry!)

Anyway, good luck. PJ goes in for her first 6 week recheck on the oral methimazole this week, so I'm hoping for some good news myself!
post #4 of 27
Hi there!
We should all be as lucky to have such a good ower as you are. I am a veterinary technician whose clinic does treat thyroid problems with the gel. In our experience we have found that in order to make sure that the gel is being absorbed properly you must clean the ear daily with a little alcohol on a cotton ball. This clears way any unused gel and gives the surface a fresh start. It is also helpful to switch ears every couple of days. My mother-in-laws kitty was 17 when diagnosed and she lived another 4 years, and she made sure to keep the pinnas clean, the meds seemed to work better. Good luck and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycorner
Hi there!
We should all be as lucky to have such a good ower as you are. I am a veterinary technician whose clinic does treat thyroid problems with the gel. In our experience we have found that in order to make sure that the gel is being absorbed properly you must clean the ear daily with a little alcohol on a cotton ball. This clears way any unused gel and gives the surface a fresh start. It is also helpful to switch ears every couple of days. My mother-in-laws kitty was 17 when diagnosed and she lived another 4 years, and she made sure to keep the pinnas clean, the meds seemed to work better. Good luck and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

I didn't know that about cleaning the ear! We alternated ears each time we gave the medication. PJ has done really well with the oral medication now, but I'll keep that in mind for future ear adventures!
post #6 of 27
Our Sophie was diagnosed last year, at age 16, and like the others mentioned here she was ravenous & losing weight (from almost 20 lbs. down to 9). We have her on the oral med. & have adjusted the dosage according to how she's doing (from 2x daily to basically 1 pill for 3 days, then skip a day). She had her initial blood work, a repeat at 3 months, and was doing so well the vet is letting her go for 6 months before more blood work is done.

I've never heard of a hyperthyroid cat becoming so aggressive. Sophie has never gotten along with our Jack, but he has always been the instigator. I think I would talk to your vet about this; I agree that there may be something else going on with her.

Lucky you to have found a vet that makes house calls! I hope you can come up with a solution for your girl's aggressive behaviour; it must be hard on her brother to be alone after having such a good relationship with her.
Good luck.
post #7 of 27
When Spot's thyroid levels were high, he often became very irritable. He would frequently chase his housemate around. Every once in a while, he'd catch her and pin her. Spot was normally a very mellow kitty, so this was unusual behavior for him.

Did the aggression start immediately after the trip to the vet? It is not uncommon for cats to react strangely when one comes home smelling like "that place." You may want to try the vanilla trick (a dab of vanilla extract under the chin and on the base of the tail to make them smell the same). You may also want to reintroduce the cats to each other slowly.
post #8 of 27
Hi,

We're waiting for a blood-test to confirm our cat's diagnosis of hyper-thyroidism.

When we talked to her she did say that it can cause cat's to become more grumpy and aggressive so it does sound like this is part of the illness...

Hope your poor kitty feels better soon!

Rosie
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I appreciate everyone's input! What an eye-opening experience to know that we are not the only ones going through this.

I WILL try the cleaning of the ear with some cotton balls and alcohol before applying more of the transdermal gel and see if that seems to help. I REALLY don't want to do the pill route. We have gone there before and she is a typical cat that fights it all the way, and eventually spits any pill out. We are also giving her a liquid-chicken flavored antibiotic for an infected lymph node, thankfully only once a day, and it takes two of us to get it down.

She (Misty) has always been a really mellow kitty, but we have noticed the aggression for probably a month before the diagnosis. How ignorant we must have been to not have triggered a visit to vet prior! But we realize that we are incredibly lucky to have found such a conscientious house call vet now. He calls every other day just to check on her.

What I am totally stressing about.....and I hope you all will bear with me! My husband says the cats cannot live like this forever, in two separate areas of the house, locked away from each other. He feels like we need to find another home for Misty, or (GASP!!!) have her euthanized if this aggression does not go away. This is MY kitty, and it brings me to tears to even consider that option.

I will keep you all informed. Thank you for your help.

P.S. Does anyone know how to attach pictures to this? I have my digital camera pictures in my computer, but when I try to "insert image" it asks for "URL". I'm computer illiterate. Thanks.
post #10 of 27
I am hoping that by cleaning the ear that it makes the medicine work better but if you have to resort to pilling Misty you may want to consider trying Pill Pockets. I have a cat with only one kideny who requires daily medication and I have found that by giveing her the pill in treat form that instead of me finding her to give her meds, that she comes to me when it is time for her medication!!! IF you have to go that route I highly suggest them. Please do not give up hope with her though, hopefully after you get her thyroid under control she will calm down. You may also want to try a Comfort Zone diffuser to help ease the tension between the two-it is an all natural pheramone therapy that make cats feel happy-it is like a plug in Valium air freshener for kitties! I will keep good thoughts in my head for your household and let us know how things are going.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittycatlover


P.S. Does anyone know how to attach pictures to this? I have my digital camera pictures in my computer, but when I try to "insert image" it asks for "URL". I'm computer illiterate. Thanks.
I save my pics to a PhotoBucket acct - then I c/p the adr when the URL adr pops up.
post #12 of 27
PJ went for bloodwork today; we'll know the results probably on Monday.

In the meantime, with the oral methimazole, she has gained back 1.5 pounds!!


We are thrilled with her progress. If you find that the transdermal gel eventually doesn't do the trick, and you can't do pills (PJ is the worst piller ever), try and get the medication compounded into a liquid that you can mix with some canned food. Our compounding pharmacy makes the medication into all kinds of flavors, so I'm sure there's one your cat would love.

Now, we just wait for the blood results!
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Our kitty, Misty, was diagnosed with hyperthyroid around the middle of April. She was put on the methimazole transdermal gel, and (as I said in previous postings) she is doing well, gaining weight, regaining her normal fur texture, eating normally.

The last issue to resolve was her aggressiveness towards her sibling brother. Our mild-mannered little "Misty" was a real b----!

Our WONDERFUL house call vet told us we would just have to ride it out, waiting until the medication really took ahold. If the aggressiveness was too much, a water squirter would have to intervene. Which did happen a couple times!

Then another wonderful cat site forum member told me about Comfort Zone Diffuser with feliway. What a miracle!!! It actually took about a month for that also to work, but we are actually seeing dramatic changes for the better. We're actually not sure if it is the methimazole, the diffuser, the water squirter, or time, or a combination of all, but we are pleased!

Seems like our household is back to normal!

Good luck to anyone else out there who is dealing with hyperthyroid kitties!
post #14 of 27
I am soo glad to hear that your house is regaining some normalcy. I am glad that Misty is better and there are no more arguments, and I am also glad that the diffuser is working for you. It can be expensive to start out with but the refills are more reasonable. I thank you for giving us an update and letting others with the same situation know their options! Take care and best wishes to you now happy home!
post #15 of 27

I realize that this thread on cats with this problem is an older one, but in case anyone is checking it now, here are some of my thoughts. My beloved cat Shadow, thirteen years old, was diagnosed this year. She couldn't take the pills so we are trying the gel in her ears. Side effects required that  I cut the dose but we are perservering on this as it can extend her life and avoid the terrible effects of this disease, at least for a long while.  In the meantime, since I use a lot of natural methods myself, i started looking for something to help her. I found a wonderful product, a homeopathic, which means it can be taken along with prescription medications (as opposed to most herbal formulas which can't). In addition to treating other symptoms it also has a calming effect and since taking it she is less aggressive.Yes, she had this agression too, along with nervousness and fears. The product is called "Thyroid Soothe" for cats, and is available from many retailers, if you search on it. The best part is that it comes in granule form and can be mixed with a small amount of food or put on the tounge. She never would take anything, but gobbles this right up. My cats have always lived to the late teen years and all I want for her is to live out her normal life as long as she isn't suffering. If I pay attention she teaches me how to care for her. I have read that this disease hasn't been around very long and may be coming from pet food or production. I hope they can do something about this as it is a terrible disease. Good luck to you all.

post #16 of 27

I have a 16 yr old cat, Nyx, who was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism in 2009. She went from 9 lbs down to 5.5 and has never regained all the weight but, she is a seriously picky eater. If you haven't looked it up yet, check out the possible human side effects. Most places only mention kidney and liver damage when discussing methimazole and cats. Some people also mention vocal changes, a reduction in immune response and a thickening of the claw sheaths which make them more difficult to shed. Human side effects also include gastro-intestinal bleeding, dry skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, moodiness and irritability. I know I see a lot more severe mood swings with Nyx. She'll flip from clingy to "get away from me" in minutes. It can be challenging.

post #17 of 27

There is a Yahoo! group for people with hyperthroid cats:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/feline-hyperT/

 

I stopped bothering with it - it's very US-centric  for one thing - but you might find it helpful.  However my cat didn't get any side effects from his treatment, and many cats already have liver and/or kidney and/or heart problems when diagnosed as hyperthyroid as it tends to mask them.

post #18 of 27

Not trying here to hijack this thread, but I have a question.  My vet didn't discuss this methimazole ear treatment.  I am wondering if this treatment affects the cats liver.  I am concerned about my Muffin who was diagnosed with thyrois issues the same time part of his liver was removed due to a primary liver tumor.  I am  wondering if the ear treatment would be better than the oral treatment.

post #19 of 27

I"m sorry to hear that. It could be a side effect from the medicine, talk to you vet about that. Maybe the vet can give you some advice or direct you to someone who can help you.

post #20 of 27
I am sorry you are going through this with your cat. Our cat was diagnosed earlier this year with hypothyroidism. At the same time he had surgery for liver cancer. After his surgery and some healing time, the vet put him on the methimazole. Our vet told us about the ear medicine and said the problem with that was unless people really cleaned the ears, it would not be absorbed well. I read here in one of your posts that you don't want to do the pill because of such a problem to get it in the cat. We give our cat his medicine every day in a pill pocket. You buy them at the pet store. The cat thinks he is getting a treat and loves it. So you might want to consider that route if the ear medicine doesn't work well for your cat. It might be that when the thyroid gets in the normal levels again, the agression toward the other cat will stop.
When is the doctor going to check the thyroid again and mabe adjust the medicine.
post #21 of 27

Hi Y'al

 

400

 

In south Florida my little Kit whom my sister and I took in the night Wilma hit us back in 2005 is a hper thyroid. I noticed it seemed as 'overnight' about 8 months ago when I thought she was looking a little thin. Then as the August Sept came I was feeling too much bone and I got a mobile vet to come over Sept 27th.

kHer B/P was 188/123 and I think its pretty neat the thing they use to get their b/p. And definately the hyper thyroid. She is 8-9 and for the last 2 months I've been her nurse. I am disabled at home for 8 years. 

 

She never was a big eater but well between wet and dry. Always was trim. She is a beautiful Tabby and very nice. Now I keep her in my room overnight and into the the next evening because if I don't don't stay on her to eat she won't. I just came from a office vet who is xcellent and her bp was already improve at 175/85 which I was giving her alopinomine. But I was 4 days short on the tapazole so she won't do the blood til the end of this month. 

 

Its a full time job. She is very slow which the meds say will happen but she is far at all being nasty. Shes been a swetheart. Just hang in there with your vet. Its a conditon that the she's going to have until the LORD calls her back to him. Asyou google you'll see all the others from youtube etc. God bless yu and your liitle Khets ;o)

post #22 of 27

Georgie was diagnosed with hypherthyroidism in October, she had treatment with radioactive iodine in early November, a little over thirty days later her weight is up and she is much better. Her voice creaks and squeaks after the treatment but that is the only side effect. The radioactive iodine actually cures the condition.

The treatment was $1045 and our insurance paid $731.50 of that...

post #23 of 27

I have Sylvester on the y/d food diet. Although it's not a healthy diet, it does work on keeping the T4 levels down, and the aggression or eradic behavior subsides. I also use the calming plug in diffuser which works very well. However, on the food, the feline can only eat that food and absolutley nothing else, or it won't work. Sylvester's T4 went from over 10 down to 4 in about 2 weeks, but it did unmask early kidney disease, and he's having pooping problems along with an intense increase in thirst. So we are still debating going to the trans-dermal treatment. I would try the food before even considering euthanasia.

post #24 of 27

My Yanny was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism about a year ago, she'Is in felimazole 2.5 twice a day. At the beginning I used to give her the whole pill and she would swallow it... but my girl got 
"smarter" and suddenly I was founding pills underneath my pillows, inside my covers, under the sofa... so I started to dilute them and I give it to her now diluted in water with a syringe. She's 13 y/o and seems to be doing well, eats normal, drinks normal and goes to litter also normal.. ahhh of course she bullies my "outside cats" normal also lol. I need to make a new appointment this year and check her levels again. Not happy about having her on meds, but whatever it takes to have her as best as I can. :rub:

post #25 of 27

Sounds like you have it down. I wish I could do the pills, but I have to leave every 2 months for 10 days on business, so I couldn't ask my neighbor to do that for me even though she loves Sly. That's why I choose to do the food, unless I may look into the trans-dermal, but so far I've seen not real good results with it. I just wish I knew more about the food long term affects or what others are experiencing that's been using it for a long time now. Good luck to Yanny and wishing a good life for her. :)

post #26 of 27

I never heard about the trans-dermal, but just be careful with Sly kidneys, once they start to fail is not a nice path, nor for them, nor for us who love them.

Yanny's my baby girl and even though I have Lucky & Minu who I love dearly, Yanny is my every day sunshine, her adoration to me amazes me every day and my love for her is not that far behind... so I always try to keep her healthy in order to have her for a long time in the best health condition possible.

Wish Sly a healthy and long life also!

post #27 of 27

Hi Dear Cat Lovers,

Older cats may turn against a sibling for many reasons - goodness knows why - they often just do.  My cat has been on this thyroid medication for some weeks and seems a lot more settled.  The lack of it made her very nervous and intolerant of people, anything really.  She is timid by nature, but the nervousness caused by the thyroid trouble can worsen this.  Mind you, my cat is now 19 - so some prima donna behaviour can be expected of an old lady!

Your cats may never really be able to tolerate each other again, not certain.  May depend on age.  My cat had to be adopted away from her female sibling by me from my daughter as she turned against her sibling.  I believe cats need to be on their own, ideally, with an owner, but this is not always possible, I know.  Some cats settle well with others, some just do not.  This is the wonder and frustrating interest of loving cats as pets!  My cat is a tortoiseshell and people say they are particularly difficult - yes!  I can vouch for this.  Still, I love her and would not change her.

Some side effects of the thyroid medication can be itching and scratching, nausea or vomiting and reduced appetite.  It seems when we try to help these little guys, we just can't have it all.  My cat's weight loss is down to having a renal problem, too, so she is doubly unwell.

So long as she can go out and about, eat a little and purr - she will be with me.

Much good luck with your little cats - they are so lucky to have you.

Ellen x   

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