Older skinny cat thyroid issue

cwalke41

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My cat Inka is 13 years old, still very active, eats well, poops well and behaves like a normal cat. But last summer she started losing weight, like A LOT of weight. I took her to the vet and she told me that Inka has a thyroid problem and prescribed Methimazole Compounded Transdermal which, twice a day, I apply in her ear as directed. Since we started in June, I have had her thyroid checked 4 times and it has not come down at all. The dose has been increased twice over that time. She has also not regained any weight and in fact feels pretty much like skin and bones. Her coat is still healthy, she is still active and eats, drinks and poops normally. I am at a loss as to why the medication does not seem to be working and if there are other factors that might be causing her to be so skinny. Are there other things that might be keeping her from gaining weight? Is it worth continuing to medicate her when it seems to be not doing anything?
This is my first post here so I hope I'm doing things right!
 

Furballsmom

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Hi, welcome! You're doing things exactly right regarding posting :hugs:
 
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silent meowlook

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Hi. She won’t be able to gain weight until the thyroid is regulated. If the transdermal Methimazole is not working, and sometimes it doesn’t, you need to give the tablets. I would start there and see if things don’t improve.
 

Furballsmom

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You might consider talking to a different vet, in a different clinic.

Also, once the thyroid is being better managed, there are things in this link I'm posting (I know in her case she's eating - never mind the title in that regard) that can help her begin to put the weight back on, along with possibly hand feeding. My vet told me that instead of syringe feeding, using a tongue depressor works much better :)

Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
 
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cwalke41

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thank you for the response Furballsmom...and for the link too! Very useful info. I will check with the vet this week as to what alternatives there might be as the last time we were in (about two weeks ago), her T4 level was "off the chart" but I only saw the technician that day and haven't really heard from the doc. Don't remember whether we had talked about pills when Inka started on the meds so I will follow up on that. Also, didn't know that the medication sometimes doesn't work...will have to do more research obviously!
I know it sounds weird, but we really like our vet and waited a long while to get on her patient list. Getting a vet appt is terribly hard where I live...many are not taking new patients and some just don't have good reputations. I will certainly keep your suggestion in mind and see what's possible.
 

neely

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Welcome to TCS! :wave3: Just out of curiosity, are you cleaning her ears every day or every other day? Unless they're cleaned regularly the Methimazole can not be properly absorbed. In addition, you have to wait at least 8 - 12 hours after using the transdermal to clean them. I'm very sorry the medicine is not working since I'm sure you would like to see her T-4 levels go down. Our cat was also diagnosed with H-T and he's close in age to Inka so I can relate to what you're going through.🤗 I was going to suggest a second opinion from a vet who specializes in treating felines only but it sounds like that's not an option and you really like your vet. Please keep us posted and I hope trying a pill form of the medicine works for her.:crossfingers:
 
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cwalke41

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thank you neely, for your response. No I have not been cleaning her ears and plan to start doing that...can I use a baby wipe or something like that? She has become used to having her ears handles so hopefully she will adapt to a new routine! Good to know about the waiting period too...makes sense!
 

neely

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thank you neely, for your response. No I have not been cleaning her ears and plan to start doing that...can I use a baby wipe or something like that?
Your vet or the compound pharmacy where you got the Methimazole should have informed you about cleaning her ears. I'm sorry you didn't know that because it's very possible she isn't getting the full dose of medicine. If the ears are not cleaned a thin crust-like layer forms and can block the medicine from being fully absorbed. I would let your vet know about it since he or she increased the dose twice. I use a cotton round, (not to be confused with a cotton ball), with warm water but you can also use a mild cleaning solution to clean the ears. Don't oversaturate the cotton round. I hope you have been wearing gloves or a finger cot when applying the Methimazole. If you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask.
 

jaws239

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neely neely , does your cat sometimes flip from over- to under-active & need a med change, like with humans? Do they tend to irritability when it goes from one to the other (partly from lack of sleep because temperature fluctuates)? Hair loss? -- I keep hearing about the weight loss/gain, but I haven't noticed it on myself, then again, I'm still figuring it out! -- was just curious if affects our fur-kids same ways.
 

neely

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neely neely , does your cat sometimes flip from over- to under-active & need a med change, like with humans? Do they tend to irritability when it goes from one to the other (partly from lack of sleep because temperature fluctuates)? Hair loss? -- I keep hearing about the weight loss/gain, but I haven't noticed it on myself, then again, I'm still figuring it out! -- was just curious if affects our fur-kids same ways.
I think our cats are all individual especially since Hyperthyroidism can mask other illnesses which can cause some of the side effects you mentioned. Our cat did not flip from over active to under active but I feel that is due to regular blood checks of his T-4 levels. He was not irritable either once the Methimazole started working. However, he did have some weight loss. I should mention after 9 months of being on the medicine we opted for the I-131 Radioactive Iodine Treatment which meant he no longer had to be on medicine. Be patient and talk to your vet or get a second opinion if you feel it's beneficial for your cat. We are here to help and support you but we are not vets. 🤗
 

jaws239

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I think our cats are all individual especially since Hyperthyroidism can mask other illnesses which can cause some of the side effects you mentioned. Our cat did not flip from over active to under active but I feel that is due to regular blood checks of his T-4 levels. He was not irritable either once the Methimazole started working. However, he did have some weight loss. I should mention after 9 months of being on the medicine we opted for the I-131 Radioactive Iodine Treatment which meant he no longer had to be on medicine. Be patient and talk to your vet or get a second opinion if you feel it's beneficial for your cat. We are here to help and support you but we are not vets. 🤗
Thank you for sharing your cat's personal experience with thyroid meds!
Apologies for not making clear, my cat does not have thyroid problem (to my knowledge). I do, & was curious because when my cats or dog experience same illness as people, they sometimes seem to share similar symptoms.
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. With people usually it is often hypothyroidism, which is very rare in cats, but common in dogs it can cause a dull dry hair coat and hair thinning.

Cat usually get hyperthyroidism, which is less common in people and rarely seen in dogs. In cats, hyperthyroidism symptoms are commonly displayed as a voracious appetite with weight loss. It can also cause a very vocal and hyperactive behavior. They can also have high blood pressure and the increased blood flow to the kidneys can mask kidney disease. Left untreated hyperthyroidism can also cause heart disease.

It doesn’t matter what you feed or how much you feed, until the thyroid is controlled, they will not be able to gain weight.

Although it is convenient, the transdermal Methimazole, is hard to get an accurate dose due to it having to be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, in cats whose thyroid level are very high, it is best to use the Methimazole tablets.

There are other methods to manage hyperthyroidism. There is a surgical procedure that removes the thyroid gland. There is also a radioiodine treatment.

My own cat, I opted for giving the tablets.
 

jaws239

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S silent meowlook , thank you for the information! It's interesting on the dog & cat differences. Thanks for including that! I didn't think about the possible kidney involvement.

Apologies to cwalke41 for hogging your thread. I hope Inka is feeling better!
 

catmando2

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Hi,

Is your cat able to sit still when you apply the Transdermal ? My cat had a thyroid issue too about 2 years ago. First tried the Transdermal but he'd run away from me, so I really didn't have much luck with that. Then went on the pill in his food which was more effective but he had side effects with the vet trying (too hard, in my opinion) with the dosage. At last, I was able to go the I-131 radiation treatment and that made all the difference in the world.

I feel for your kitty as remember how rough it was when my cat had all over active thyroid symptoms.
 
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