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Treating Feline Hyperthyroidism

April 25, 2007

sandford-son-016.jpg Meet Jasmine, my 14 year old indoor cat, recently diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism.  In hindsight, she’s probably had  a borderline case of this her whole life as she zips around the house, and has had a nervous stomach that I thought was responsible for her chronically thin physique.  In January, in addition to a growth on her hind foot, her food consumption suddenly doubled.   While she was at the Vet, having the growth removed, she was tested for about everything and diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism due to elevated T4 levels.

There are three possible treatments:

1) Radiation directed at the thyroid gland – expensive and requires a stay in the clinic for up to a week until the radiation levels in the cat drop. 

2) Surgury.  Again, very expensive.

3) Daily medication to suppress – Methimazole at about $1 pill.  There seem to be some herbal or more natual products available, but the cost seems to be in about the same range.

Since she had gone her whole life with the issue, I initially thought I’d just defer and see what happened.   Last month, I noticed that the fur on the inside of her hind legs had dramatically thinned, along with the fur on her abdominal area.  The vet confirmed this as related to the hyperthyroidism, so I bit the bullet and started the pill treatment.

Apparently, dosage is adjusted through trial and error.  The vet suggested 2 pills per day for a month and retest the levels.   Second day on the pills and Jasmine all but stopped eating.  Dropping to 1 pill per day got her back down to 2-3 cans of food per day (small cans) and a more relaxed demeanor.

Last night, we tried 1/2 pill per day.  Three a.m. and the cat was in my face demanding to be fed.  She zoomed  around the bedroom ricocheting off the bed like some missile with a broken gyro.  After feeding she returned to sit on the bed and her insides gurgled ominously – sounded like she had eaten some 3 alarm firehouse chili.

Back to one pill today and looking forward to a full nights sleep. 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2007 1:43 pm

    My friend Ed’s cat was diagnosed the same. The radiation treatment is probably the best choice. It is only done once and then the cat is cured forever. After a while the medication costs as much as the radiation.

  2. April 25, 2007 3:40 pm

    Proably right. I think the medicine will run about $375 / year and the radio therapy was going to cost around $1,000. So in about 3 years it would be a wash. She’s 14, so will she go another 3 years? I certainly hope so. The monthly’s were easier to absorb than another big lump sum right now. A month ago, I spent $1K in one week on the cats – still recovering a bit from that.

  3. May 12, 2007 1:47 am

    My cat has had this for over a year now. Once we got the right amount of medication (a quarter of a pill, twice a day), she has really stabilized. Good luck!

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