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My Speedboat's Fur

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just a question for someone who maybe can help me. My Speedboat is a ten year old long haired orange tabby. I have noticed lately that his coat is not as shiny and sleek looking as it used to be. Seems like he just looks real scrubby or something. As far as I know he is in good health. It is time now to call the vet to make an appt. for his yearly exam. Anyone here have any ideas what would cause a dull looking coat. He eats prescription dry food, W/D. Thanks for any suggestions.
post #2 of 13
I know a lot of people here get what is called a senior panel bloodwork when their cats reach this age. I know thyroid problems that are usually easily corrected with medication are common at this age.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
My vet and I have already talked about doing the sr. blood work when he goes for his checkup. Thank you for that suggestion. I know when our cats get some age, things can begin to show up. I am hoping to have Speedboat around for a lot more years.
post #4 of 13
Let us know what the vet says. There are lots of things that can cause a dull coat. It could be as simple as Speedboat needing extra oil or it could be a treatable medical condition like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, CRF, etc. The bloodwork will help you figure out what is wrong so it can be treated.

Have you noticed any other changes with Speedboat lately?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to give any update here about Speedboat. I have an appointment to take him in Friday morning for his shots and yearly exam. I am going to ask for a senior blood panel to see how everything looks there.
Speedboat's coat seems scraggly and dull. Although he is an outside cat, I feel like I am seeing excess shedding right now. Everyday I brush him and a lot of hair is coming out. Also, I notice he seems to be always hungry. Just wondering if anyone here has opinions about all that. I have read that excess hunger and shedding can be symptoms of thyroid problems. Is there any specific test for this or will the blood panel be enough.
post #6 of 13
ensure they test for t4 ... it can be in a blood panel but often is an add on .///
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you Sharky. Is the t4 a test for thyroid or what?
post #8 of 13
correct me if this is nt quite right.. t4 is the free form of the thyroid hormone
post #9 of 13
There are several different thyroid tests. T4 is the more commonly used one, Free T4 is one that often needs to be added on. The Free T4 test is sometimes more sensitive. If the T4 level is normal but the cat is showing signs of hyperthyroidism, I would suggest getting a Free T4 test as well. If money isn't too much of an issue, you may want to request both at the same time.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
We are back from the vet. Speedboat got his yearly exam and shots. Also, the dr. did a full blood panel, including the t4 test, to check for the thyroid problem. He agrees that Speedboat's coat is not as usual. When he felt his throat area, he did say he could feel the thyroid. Sometimes that can be a sign, sometimes not.
He will get the bloodwork results back sometime Monday.

I am asking all you folks that believe in prayer, please remember my cat. He is ten years old. We lost his best buddy, Max, last summer to kidney failure.
post #11 of 13
Speedboat is in my thoughts. Hyperthyroidism, while serious if untreated, is not a death sentence. Spot lived for 19 months and when he passed it was due to heart problems, not thyroid problems. On the hyperthyroid cats and senior cats groups I'm on, there are several cats who lived to be 18+ with hyperthyroidism. Some were treated with medication, while others underwent radioiodine (I-131) treatment.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
That is a question I was going to ask. My vet talked some about the treatments for thyroid problems. He doesn't really recommend the surgery because he said sometimes they don't get the part of the thyroid that is causing problems. He said the iodine treatment is good, but expensive, about $3000. He said the pills would be affordable. If Speedboat could be treated with a low dosage, 1/2 pill two times a day that it would run about $22 a month. My question is WHAT HAPPENS TO A CAT WITH THIS PROBLEM IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO TREAT IT WITH ANYTHING? How fast does the disease progress and how would it affect the cat. All input welcome.
post #13 of 13
The thyroid treatment is expensive, but $3000 sounds very high--it was about $1000 for Spot, and that includes the x-rays, urine test and echocardiogram.

How quickly they decline depends on the cat and the progression of the disease. The thyroid hormone levels send their metabolism into overtime. Their heart, kidneys, and other organs have to work harder and faster. It gets to a point where they can't take enough enough food because they are using so many calories--that's why they lose weight. Spot was treated with radioiodine, but it didn't work for him. He was off of the medication for two months before I insisted on starting him back on it again (Spot was a special case--most cats respond to the radioiodine treatment but Spot got worse instead). Before treatment, he was almost 11 pounds. After two months without medication, he weighed a mere 7 pounds 1 ounce, having lost more than 30% of his body weight.

I would strongly advise against not treating the cat. If the thyroid levels are high, it is the equivalent of allowing your cat to starve to death. It would be more humane to put a cat to sleep than allow it to suffer--I did that as well with a stray who had FIV and hyperthyroidism (a neighbor later claimed he was her cat...but that's another story). There at least one case that I know of where someone had at least some luck using natural remedies (called glandulars) but I don't know how well it would work long term.

As for the cost of the medication, you can find better deals by getting the prescription from your vet and shopping around. Check with local pharmacies. Drugstore.com offers 100 tablets of the 5 mg methimazole for $37.99. That would last for about 3 months.
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