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Any Experience With Hyperthyroidism?

ankitty

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My 12 years old cat just got diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He hasn't shown any symptoms except increased appetite. I decided to give him ear gel for now (he has sensitive stomach) while doing more research about other treatment options. Any experience with medications (oral, topical, side effects, etc.) or radioiodine treatment? Do medication lose effects after some years? I thought of trying radioiodine, but I saw some reviews that some cats died soon after the treatment. The facility recommended by our vet has many good reviews but also many cats needed IV after being discharged. I'd like to hear your experiences, opinions, and advice. Thanks in advance.
 

sweetblackpaws

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I had a kitty that was a few years older than yours, and she was put on Methimazole after she was diagnosed. She would not take a pill pocket, so I had it "compounded" into a gel that I would rub inside the tip of her ear. Compounding cost more, but it can be worth it. She stayed on that until the day she went over Rainbow Bridge. I recall she seemed to tolerate it well.

I have heard of that radioiodine thing. Personally, I would not put an elderly cat through that, but some folks do.
 

Beejackers73

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My 12 years old cat just got diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He hasn't shown any symptoms except increased appetite. I decided to give him ear gel for now (he has sensitive stomach) while doing more research about other treatment options. Any experience with medications (oral, topical, side effects, etc.) or radioiodine treatment? Do medication lose effects after some years? I thought of trying radioiodine, but I saw some reviews that some cats died soon after the treatment. The facility recommended by our vet has many good reviews but also many cats needed IV after being discharged. I'd like to hear your experiences, opinions, and advice. Thanks in advance.
My 12 years old cat just got diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He hasn't shown any symptoms except increased appetite. I decided to give him ear gel for now (he has sensitive stomach) while doing more research about other treatment options. Any experience with medications (oral, topical, side effects, etc.) or radioiodine treatment? Do medication lose effects after some years? I thought of trying radioiodine, but I saw some reviews that some cats died soon after the treatment. The facility recommended by our vet has many good reviews but also many cats needed IV after being discharged. I'd like to hear your experiences, opinions, and advice. Thanks in advance.
hi been going through our kitties diagnose for over a year now. Would like to share somethings I learned on my own not from the vets. She was allergic to the liquid compound she got very sick so she's been on the ear gel for a year and I saw frequently she would have flare ups and I looked everywhere for a solution. I was getting my gel online from pharmacy I won't say who but there's really on two that do it, both use yellow dye in their gel creams and both gummed up hee ears and I was cleaning black stuff out very day. I also would get her gel in refrigerated packages and everyone should tell you this has to be kept at room temperature or its bad..so I found a pharmacy that specializes in compounding the gels and its in Indiana but very close to us so its not a bad drive. She has been doing wonderful since changing to the new pharmacy and she's even acting happy again! I tried to so the I131 iodine treat4 and they wanted to put hee under anesthesia and I said no way and left without doing it, cost me 450 dollars but I have no regrets. My advice is find a good pharmacy and keep kitties ears clean and you will be fine.
 

Antonio65

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My cat was hyperthyroid, was treated with I-131 and is still alive after 7 months :)
It's one of the best spent money in my life!
She was on eargel for months, but the situation wasn't improving, and actually it can't improve because the meds do not cure the disease, they only keep some side effect of HT under control, while the disease grows inside your cat!
 

babiesmom5

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I too had a cat diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism at age 13. She was on Methimazole for a short period in order to bring her thyroid hormone level down prior to treatment with I-131.

It was money very well spent. She had no complications, recovered quickly and went on to live a good life until age 20. I only wish all feline diseases could be treated this easily.

Like Antonio65 Antonio65 says above, the medication does not cure the disease...it only suppresses the thyroid hormone while the tumor continues to grow. Some cats get bad side effects from this medication like nausea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite and hair loss. It can also cause longterm damage to liver and kidneys.

If I had another cat who developed Hyperthyroidism, I would treat with I-131.

I would follow you vet's advice.
 

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I had a cat many years ago who was diagnosed with that and I had a choice to give her pills for the rest of her life or else have the radioactive isotope injected into her. I went with the isotope. I guess they still do that but around here, I heard they closed that lab down several years later.
I had to leave the cat at the lab for a week. She was radioactive for a long time. The cat litter had to be handled carefully, scooped with gloves and then stored in the garage for three months before I could put it out. I wasn't supposed to hold her for a month which of course I did anyway. Fortunately she was the only cat in the house at the time. But she was fine and lived to be 18 years old. Passed away with megacolon, which she had before the procedure.
 

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The cat I just adopted likely has hyperthyroidism, so I've been asking around. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the radiation therapy. That it's very safe, lower risk of side effects than medication, and that it works very well! But the cost is very high and it's usually not most people's first choice.

I've decided to start with the methimazole pill. My vet offered the transdermal medication but warned that it has intermittent success, and that if she'll take a pill, that would be best or we could get it compounded into a liquid for oral administration. Wendy has been ravenous lately and has been chowing down on everything within reach so all it took was a bit of a pill pocket for her to gobble up the pill eagerly. I gave her the first dose yesterday but then today, she has had no appetite at all, which I was warned is a side effect so I'm having trouble getting her to take her next dose, so we're still experimenting ourselves! I'm hoping it will just take an adjustment period and then her side effects will subside in a week or two.
 

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The cat I just adopted likely has hyperthyroidism, so I've been asking around. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the radiation therapy. That it's very safe, lower risk of side effects than medication, and that it works very well! But the cost is very high and it's usually not most people's first choice.
Probably different parts of the world have different prices.
But I made my homeworks, and it came out that the treatment with radiation therapy had the same cost of 16 moths worth of methimazole eargel and blood works every 6 weeks.
So it is true, I spent some money in one shot, but in 16 months time (actually 8 months more, because 8 months have nearly gone now) I will be even, from that moment on it's all saved.
 

otterear

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I had a kitty that was a few years older than yours, and she was put on Methimazole after she was diagnosed. She would not take a pill pocket, so I had it "compounded" into a gel that I would rub inside the tip of her ear. Compounding cost more, but it can be worth it. She stayed on that until the day she went over Rainbow Bridge. I recall she seemed to tolerate it well.

I have heard of that radioiodine thing. Personally, I would not put an elderly cat through that, but some folks do.
Did you have to clean your cats ears? If so how and with what? The medication is ‘cruddy up his ear flap and hard to clean w just cotton pads!
 

betsygee

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One of my 10 year old cats was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She's just started methimazole. Fortunately Zoe will eat anything, so I've been successful giving it to her in pill form in a pill pocket. She hasn't had any side effects from it so far. I'll take her back for blood work after a month of treatment to see if her thyroid levels are back down to a reasonable number.

Thanks for starting this thread, sweetblackpaws sweetblackpaws . There's some helpful information here. :agree:
 

otterear

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My cat Zippy is on Methimazole cream for his ears. Twice a day. My question/ issue is: the ‘buildup’ on the inside ear flap from the medication. I usually use a wet cotton pad with warm water...rubbing pretty hard to get the ‘crud’ off. It’s not working! So I am asking what people use when cleaning the ear flaps.
 

Antonio65

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My cat Zippy is on Methimazole cream for his ears. Twice a day. My question/ issue is: the ‘buildup’ on the inside ear flap from the medication. I usually use a wet cotton pad with warm water...rubbing pretty hard to get the ‘crud’ off. It’s not working! So I am asking what people use when cleaning the ear flaps.
My cat was on eargel twice a day, but she never had this problem, the gel was totally absorbed through the skin and left no traces behind.
You could ask your vet to prepare the prescrition for a different compound pharmacy.
 

VinceL

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We've gone through hyperthyroidism with 2 cats.

Our first experience was with Sadie (RIP). He was about 12 when diagnosed. He was eating like crazy and losing weight. We put him on Methimazole pills and things did improve. But, then the voracious eating and weight loss returned. Our vet had warned us that in some cats the benefits may only be temporary. We had him go through the radioactive iodine treatment. After dealing with the radioactive litter, etc. he was fine. He lived about another 5 years.

Lexi also had hyperthyroidism. Since she is so small (about 6 lbs) any weight loss could be serious. So, we skipped the Methimazole and did the radioactive iodine treatment. That was about 4 years ago and she is doing fine.

It has been several years since the treatments. But, as I recall, we only paid about $800 for each cat.
 

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The cat I just adopted likely has hyperthyroidism, so I've been asking around. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the radiation therapy. That it's very safe, lower risk of side effects than medication, and that it works very well! But the cost is very high and it's usually not most people's first choice.

I've decided to start with the methimazole pill. My vet offered the transdermal medication but warned that it has intermittent success, and that if she'll take a pill, that would be best or we could get it compounded into a liquid for oral administration. Wendy has been ravenous lately and has been chowing down on everything within reach so all it took was a bit of a pill pocket for her to gobble up the pill eagerly. I gave her the first dose yesterday but then today, she has had no appetite at all, which I was warned is a side effect so I'm having trouble getting her to take her next dose, so we're still experimenting ourselves! I'm hoping it will just take an adjustment period and then her side effects will subside in a week or two.
I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone stumbles upon it I'd thought I'd update!

I stopped the methimazole really quickly and decided to go the I-131 route. It's been almost a year since we did the radioiodine treatment, and Wendy is doing GREAT. I did fight with the vet to get a lower dose of radioiodine than they wanted to. (They normally do a 4 millicurie dose for all cats regardless, but her tumor was small enough that they couldn't even feel it, she's only 5 pounds, and the literature supports 2 millicuries as more than enough for the majority of cats. But they were still wary and would only go down to 3. I think 4 probably would have been fine, but my thought why risk creating hypothyroidism if not necessary, even if the risk was small, and it would leave her system faster too.) She was able to come home 2 days later, and the improvement was immediate. Her appetite and thirst went to a normal level, her fur got a lot smoother, no more vomiting, and she was less frantic. There was an overcompensation the first few weeks where her appetite went back and forth for a bit if I'm remembering correctly, but otherwise she was a changed cat. Blood work a few times afterwards (a few weeks, a few months, and 6 months) showed her thyroid levels in a normal range.

Our biggest concern was always going to be her kidneys, which were borderline for kidney disease before the treatment and I fully expected that to become apparent. She's had issues with food sensitivities too and I couldn't do a low phosphorus diet easily, so she's been on Dr. Elsey's canned turkey for a while now. But her urinalysis has been done several times since the treatment, including today, and it's been wonderful every time. My vet is really careful not to put her on any medications that could stress her kidneys, and we stay away from fish and she's well hydrated. She also was suspected to have a heart murmur before the treatment, and there is absolutely no sign of it now.

For context, she was 16 at the time of the treatment, 17 now, and very small and arthritic, and she didn't have any complications. I know she's a lot happier and more comfortable!
 

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I know this is an old thread, but in case anyone stumbles upon it I'd thought I'd update!

I stopped the methimazole really quickly and decided to go the I-131 route. It's been almost a year since we did the radioiodine treatment, and Wendy is doing GREAT. I did fight with the vet to get a lower dose of radioiodine than they wanted to. (They normally do a 4 millicurie dose for all cats regardless, but her tumor was small enough that they couldn't even feel it, she's only 5 pounds, and the literature supports 2 millicuries as more than enough for the majority of cats. But they were still wary and would only go down to 3. I think 4 probably would have been fine, but my thought why risk creating hypothyroidism if not necessary, even if the risk was small, and it would leave her system faster too.) She was able to come home 2 days later, and the improvement was immediate. Her appetite and thirst went to a normal level, her fur got a lot smoother, no more vomiting, and she was less frantic. There was an overcompensation the first few weeks where her appetite went back and forth for a bit if I'm remembering correctly, but otherwise she was a changed cat. Blood work a few times afterwards (a few weeks, a few months, and 6 months) showed her thyroid levels in a normal range.

Our biggest concern was always going to be her kidneys, which were borderline for kidney disease before the treatment and I fully expected that to become apparent. She's had issues with food sensitivities too and I couldn't do a low phosphorus diet easily, so she's been on Dr. Elsey's canned turkey for a while now. But her urinalysis has been done several times since the treatment, including today, and it's been wonderful every time. My vet is really careful not to put her on any medications that could stress her kidneys, and we stay away from fish and she's well hydrated. She also was suspected to have a heart murmur before the treatment, and there is absolutely no sign of it now.

For context, she was 16 at the time of the treatment, 17 now, and very small and arthritic, and she didn't have any complications. I know she's a lot happier and more comfortable!
This is so great to hear! Thank you for the update! :hyper:
 

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I did fight with the vet to get a lower dose of radioiodine than they wanted to. (They normally do a 4 millicurie dose for all cats regardless, but her tumor was small enough that they couldn't even feel it, she's only 5 pounds, and the literature supports 2 millicuries as more than enough for the majority of cats. But they were still wary and would only go down to 3. I think 4 probably would have been fine, but my thought why risk creating hypothyroidism if not necessary, even if the risk was small, and it would leave her system faster too.)
A proper clinic or facility do not perform I-131 without assessing the size of the tumor and hence adjust the amount of radioiodine necessary for that size.
To do this, a scintigraphy scan is done, and this not only assesses the size of the tumor, but also says if any hectopic mass is around in the cat's body. This is necessary to further adjust the dose of radioiodine.
Anyway, I'm glad your cat is doing fine.
Keep an eye on her, if necessary.

For context, she was 16 at the time of the treatment, 17 now, and very small and arthritic, and she didn't have any complications. I know she's a lot happier and more comfortable!
My cat was 16 yo too when she was treated, and had a slight CKD, a slight heart murmur and was diagnosed with a tiny amount of fluid in her chest.
 

molly92

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A proper clinic or facility do not perform I-131 without assessing the size of the tumor and hence adjust the amount of radioiodine necessary for that size.
To do this, a scintigraphy scan is done, and this not only assesses the size of the tumor, but also says if any hectopic mass is around in the cat's body. This is necessary to further adjust the dose of radioiodine.
Anyway, I'm glad your cat is doing fine.
Keep an eye on her, if necessary.



My cat was 16 yo too when she was treated, and had a slight CKD, a slight heart murmur and was diagnosed with a tiny amount of fluid in her chest.
I did have my share of frustrations with this vet. Scintigraphy just "wasn't something they did," despite my asking for it repeatedly. They didn't agree with the diagnosis at first either, and scintigraphy would have given a definitive diagnosis, but instead we had to go home and make the trip again when she had gotten worse. Only a 2 hour drive, but stressful and I did not appreciate putting my cat through that unnecessarily in my opinion. It's so important to stand up for your cat. I wish I'd been more assertive from the start.

I did find out after that it's not uncommon for some clinics to go the one dose fits all route, because the hyperactive part of the thyroid is so iodine greedy that it will suck up most of the radioiodine regardless, but the leading experts find the calculated dosage with scintigraphy to be most effective. For a teaching hospital, they were very resistant to learning!

Wendy's normal vet on the other hand is wonderful and we're doing 6 month checkups at least to keep an eye on her. I'm honestly surprised she hasn't had more problems yet, aside for her arthritis and occasional tooth inflammation I mean, considering her age and the condition she was found in a few years ago as a stray. She's a fighter for sure and I just want to make sure she lives the rest of her life as peacefully as possible.

I'm so sorry about your kitty. I just skimmed a couple of your posts, and it's clear she had a great protector in her corner. She got to grow old surrounded by love which is really special. Cats can tell when they're being cared for and they appreciate it.
 

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Radioactive iodine (I131) is the treatment of choice for hyperthyroidism. It’s a lot “easier” on the body than having to deal with a daily medication that stresses the liver. I think it’s also easier on the cat, not getting medicated daily. Like Antonio65 Antonio65 , I’ve done the cost calculation and I131 was cheaper than methimazole over a year.

I would like to see those reviews that claimed the cat died because of I131. I’m betting they are not written by vets or any other qualified person. Who knows what else was going on with the cat.

Vets do not want to kill your cat. If they do, they lose income. They want your cat to live as long as possible, so I would generally trust their judgement on such a straightforward issue.

The disposal of urine and feces is regulated by state, not by actual need. So you are supposed to keep litter for a period of time because the bureaucrats at some state agency decided it would be a good idea; I doubt very much it was based on fact. Human patients may be kept in hospital for a day or two after I131 treatment but I’ve never heard of them keeping their feces and urine for weeks on end.
 
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