Cat With Hyperthyroidism

Cesrenia

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Hi, I have a 14 1/2 year old male cat with hyperthyroidism. His name is Jo. He's had it for a while now, and has been on methimazole too, the liquid form which he doesn't like but oh well. It's been tricky trying to get the right dosage and already so expensive for all the tests. Plus I have 3 other geriatric cats with health problems,I really can't afford expensive treatments, does anyone have other advice?
 

LTS3

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Methimazole can be compounded into other forms for easier giving. Ask the vet. A local compounding pharmacy can do this or you can look into Wedgewood Pharmacy. Wedgwood Pharmacy has several options including a flavored chew treats, capsules (open and sprinkled into canned food or moist treat like canned tuna), and transdermal gel.

Have you considered the radioiodine therapy to treat the hyperthyroidism? It is expensive but it works for many cats.
 
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Cesrenia

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I've heard about the therapy and I'm not sure I can afford it right now with all the other issues I have with all my cats. I'll check into the other forms of methimazole like the capsules to sprinkle because he eats very well and that might work a bit better. He gets the liquid now and it's supposed to be a flavor cats love, I order it from Roadrunner pharmacy. He hates it but I can easily distract him with a treat afterwards. It's just been stressful trying to find the right dosage as his thyroid levels keep going up and down, that's what frustrates me the most. I'll talk to the vet about the therapy and get some more info before I make a decision. Thank you.
 

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I know there are members here who have had hyperthyroid cats. Maybe some of them will respond with their experiences and suggestions.
 

Antonio65

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Hi, I have a 14 1/2 year old male cat with hyperthyroidism. His name is Jo. He's had it for a while now, and has been on methimazole too, the liquid form which he doesn't like but oh well. It's been tricky trying to get the right dosage and already so expensive for all the tests. Plus I have 3 other geriatric cats with health problems,I really can't afford expensive treatments, does anyone have other advice?
As LTS3 LTS3 has said, you can have the metimazole compounded in different forms.
My cat was on Tapazole (human grade) pills. I had to break them in small fractions that were never the precise dosage required. I also had them cut to the exact dosage by my local pharmacy, but the result was always not good. Especially because the metimazole taken orally might have some impact on the stomach and liver.
I switched to the transdermal gel after a very few months and this was much more effective and easy to administer, the cat didn't even realize of it.
Anyway I think you know that metimazole IS NOT the cure for hyperthyroidism, it's a treatment to contain the effects of the disease which, of course, will keep on going and getting worse, with damages to heart and kidneys too. You will have to adjust the dosage of metimazole along the way, and have your cat checked regularly to see whether the med is working.

The best treatment is the radio-iodine therapy, that is expensive, but it is a one-off expense and you'll never have to deal with the disease and handle pills or gels again.
I made my homeworks and saw that the radio-iodine treatment was costing the same as a year of metimazole compounded in a gel and all the blood works required every 6 weeks.
 

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We have had 2 cats with hyperthyroidism, and our daughter has a cat with it (her cat just got the radio-iodine shot yesterday). With our first cat, we tried the methimazole. Our vet warned us that not all cats responded and sometimes the effectiveness declined. At first we saw an immediate improvement; the voracious eating stopped and he put on some weight. But, after a few months, it seemed the methamizole had lost its effectiveness. So, we went with the radio-iodine treatment. It was expensive, but it was a one-time thing. He lived many more years.

When a second cat developed hyperthyroidism, we went straight to the radio-iodine treatment. She had the treatment about 4 years ago, and she is doing well.

The radio-iodine treatment is expensive, but as others have mentioned, when compared to the cost of methamizole for several years, it's not much more expensive.
 

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My cat Abby was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at 16 1/2. Given her age and temperament the iodine therapy was not a good option for her so I opted for the transdermal gel. It was easy to apply and also had the advantage of bypassing the gastrointestinal tract so she didn't have the nausea or stomach issues that can sometimes happen if the medicine was given orally. It does take a while to find the right dosage and periodic blood tests are needed so that the dosage can be adjusted as needed. Unfortunately, Abby had multiple health issues and passed after about six months of treatment, but I am a big fan of transdermals when they are an option, particularly with cats that are not good at taking their medication.
 

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Fiona herself was on felimazole, same difference. She was indoor only, but feisty and did not want to take the pills. I crushed them into BFF cat food; she loved very fishy flavors and it seemed to disguise them well enough. I observed her eat and tried to put the majority of the crushed pill where she would take the first few bites. I could not pill her by hand; occasionally a pill popper helped but she did not like it and we only did it if she was not eating enough of her food. She lived for several years that way.
 

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My 15 year old kitty Bucky was just diagnosed with hyperthyroid and the vet prescribed Hills prescription
 

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My 15 year old kitty Bucky was just diagnosed with hyperthyroid and the vet prescribed Hills prescription
Hi L lakeriedog , I am sorry for Bucky.
I hope Bucky likes the prescription food the vet prescribed, usually cats don't like it much. And I'm sorry to say that the prescription food only won't be enough to face the thyroid issue. Bucky will need some meds too, though the best treatment is, of course, the radio iodine therapy.
Talk to your vet about this.
 

mentat

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My 15 year old kitty Bucky was just diagnosed with hyperthyroid and the vet prescribed Hills prescription
Is this the y/d prescription diet? It is iodine free, so no dietary iodine the thyroid must fail to metabolize/control. As long as there is no availability of treats or any other oral food, y/d's effect at decreasing the serum thyroxine level (T4) is monitored by bloodwork and can be completely effective. What is your vet's plan for followup after prescribing the diet?
 

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mentat and Antonio65 Sorry thought I finished that post..yes it is the y/d food, and she doesn't like it one bit. I did a little reading on line about the food, and found mixed opinions so I thought I would ask if others are using it or just going with the medication. Today was the first day giving her the pills, she gets half of one twice daily and because she doesn't take kindly to the pilling, I am crushing it mixing with water and squirting it down her throat. We did discuss the radio iodine treatment, but decided against it. Mainly because of her age and health issues she has a heart murmur, also I live in rural northern Nevada now and am several hours away from anyplace that does that treatment.
 

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If hiding crushed or sectioned methimazole in a tablespoon of canned food isn't an option for her oral medicating, transdermal methimazole from compounding pharmacy is an option. No personal experience with y/d, but had coworkers love that diet alone treated their cats' hyperthyroid disease. Folks that can't strictly limit their pet's intake, such as when other family offer treats or other cats on other diets accessible to the hyperthyroid kitty, utilize the meds or the radioactive iodine treatment. More folks get the radiation tx now than ever; 2 family members' cats did great, in a cat only facility closely monitoring and nursing them for weeks. My feline specialist has hundreds of hyperthyroid patients controlled medically; the association between thyroid disease and quiescent heart/renal disease is consistent per her, thus we check T4 twice a year, as many of my seniors had CKD and heart disease.
 

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The administration of the methimazole must be as precise as possible.
Crushing and diluting it in water or food does not guarantee that the cat takes the proper dosage. What is important is that the dosage is correct and that the time of the day when you pill Bucky is always the same, morning and evening, say 8 am and 8 pm.
Eargel (transdermal) is an option, it's easier to give, and doesn't upset kitty's stomach.

Be aware, though, that the methimazole gives some severe side effects, a few of them can't be reversed. Moreover, the dosage of methimazole must be assessed regularly with blood tests, say every 5-6 weeks. The med takes a few days/weeks to get effective on the hormones control, but needs to be adjusted/checked regularly.
This means lots of stress for you and Bucky, several vet bills to pay and meds to buy. Keep in mind that 12-14 months of vet bills and meds expenses will be equal to the cost of the radio iodine treatment. In the long term you will save money and stress.
Be also aware that methimazole isn't the treatment, is a way to keep some symptoms of high thyroid hormones at bay, but eventually the disease will progress and the prognosis is bad.

The age of Bucky isn't an obstacle to the treatment.
My cat was past 16 yo when she was treated, had a slight heart murmur, had IBD and a mysterious fluids build up in her chest.
Nonetheless she was successfully treated and I can say it was one of the best thing I did for a cat in my life. I suggest and recommend this treatment to everybody who has an HT cat.

Living hours away from any facility that does the treatment shouldn't be a problem. I am Italian and live in Italy. In this strange country we have NO facilities at all for radio iodine. All other European countries have them, so I had to move to a different country and went to Belgium, which is 12 hours drive from here (685 miles). I drove up there, took my cat to the facility, waited 4 days to have her back and drove down again to home.
Nothing is impossible ;)
 

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I echo everything Antonio65 Antonio65 said. My cat was also in her late teens and suspected of having some kind of heart murmur. Interestingly, no one could hear a heart murmur anymore after the radioiodine. Not a surprise, since hyperthyroidism is a common cause of heart murmurs and curing the hyperthyroidism can eliminate the murmur. The actual radioiodine treatment itself is harmless to the rest of the body (the thyroid is the only organ that uses iodine). It's not an extended procedure, just a simple injection. It's much kinder on the body than methimazole. The only concern is that some vets use an anaesthetic during administration, but my vet assured me it was very safe for older cats and not like putting a cat under for surgery.
 

lakeriedog

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The administration of the methimazole must be as precise as possible.
Crushing and diluting it in water or food does not guarantee that the cat takes the proper dosage. What is important is that the dosage is correct and that the time of the day when you pill Bucky is always the same, morning and evening, say 8 am and 8 pm.
Eargel (transdermal) is an option, it's easier to give, and doesn't upset kitty's stomach.

Be aware, though, that the methimazole gives some severe side effects, a few of them can't be reversed. Moreover, the dosage of methimazole must be assessed regularly with blood tests, say every 5-6 weeks. The med takes a few days/weeks to get effective on the hormones control, but needs to be adjusted/checked regularly.
This means lots of stress for you and Bucky, several vet bills to pay and meds to buy. Keep in mind that 12-14 months of vet bills and meds expenses will be equal to the cost of the radio iodine treatment. In the long term you will save money and stress.
Be also aware that methimazole isn't the treatment, is a way to keep some symptoms of high thyroid hormones at bay, but eventually the disease will progress and the prognosis is bad.

The age of Bucky isn't an obstacle to the treatment.
My cat was past 16 yo when she was treated, had a slight heart murmur, had IBD and a mysterious fluids build up in her chest.
Nonetheless she was successfully treated and I can say it was one of the best thing I did for a cat in my life. I suggest and recommend this treatment to everybody who has an HT cat.

Living hours away from any facility that does the treatment shouldn't be a problem. I am Italian and live in Italy. In this strange country we have NO facilities at all for radio iodine. All other European countries have them, so I had to move to a different country and went to Belgium, which is 12 hours drive from here (685 miles). I drove up there, took my cat to the facility, waited 4 days to have her back and drove down again to home.
Nothing is impossible ;)
Thanks....my vet was the one who recommended the pill crushing...it is much better than having the pill spit out for now. She said she wants to get her levels down first before we order the transdermal and she will check her blood work in one month, and periodically thereafter. Hopefully this will work for us. I have decided it is best for Bucky to stay on her normal food for now since she would not eat the y/d and I don't want her to lose anymore weight. As for the radio iodine treatment if my vet were to recommend that for Bucky, I would consider it...even though I am retired, giving meds twice daily is going to be somewhat challenging. There are a few places in California that do the procedure I believe the closest would be about a four hour drive for me.
 

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If she's on methimazole, she doesn't need y/d diet therapy also. Vets use one or the other, usually, but perhaps she wanted you to have the option of diet only if medicating didn't work out.
Before their radiation therapy, my family crushed their cats' meds to hide in fishy paste (Prince's Salmon) or tinned food. They ordered medicated chews and flavored suspensions of methimazole from compounding pharmacies, too. These may be effective for you and Bucky to enable you to medicate twice daily easier.
Glad he's eating it in food! Some are so odor sensitive to anything in food, it's impossible to slip them a mickey, so to speak. Four weeks was the bloodwork schedule for my niece/nephew cats also, whenever they had a dose change or new mode of administration. Immediately before and multiple times after, they checked during radiation therapy as well.
 

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Thank you everyone for the replies and advice! It's been three months now, Bucky has had good results with the medication, has gained some weight back and seems to be doing better. I have read up on the radio iodine treatment and tomorrow morning Bucky is having the required testing to see if she is a good candidate for the procedure. The vet in CA requires blood work and xrays one month prior. If all is well she has an appointment and will have the work done second week of July.
 

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The vet in CA requires blood work and xrays one month prior. If all is well she has an appointment and will have the work done second week of July.
Make sure a scintigraphy is done at the facility where you will take your cat to, prior to the injection and possibly in the same moment.
 

lakeriedog

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Thanks Antonio, I will ask about that. I believe that will be done down in California as none of the vets in my area do those types of things.
 
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