Tell me about your hyperthyroid kitty

I was reading through Zsofia’s thread about her dog (hope he gets better!) and am posting in IMHO for the same reasons. I’m looking for your experiences, thoughts, and ideas about life with a cat who’s hyperthyroid.

Tosha’s been losing weight lately (down about a pound in 6 weeks), which concerned me, so into the vet we went. Had all the bloodwork done, and she’s hyperthyroid (an 8.4ish on the scale, 1.4-4ish is normal). The vet characterized her hyperthyroidism as mild to moderate, and told me about the treatments (either radiation or pills; surgery is rarely performed, according to him.) Other than that, she’s stupidly healthy: everything else came back well within normal limits.

She’s an older cat; she’s 15 (at least). But since she’s so healthy and gets around so well, SpouseO and I are trying to weigh our options - do we want to give her 1/2 a pill twice daily for the rest of her life, or is it easier to go with the radiation ('tho considerably more expensive)? But will she live long enough to make the radiation “worth it?” But do we want to fuss with giving her pills twice daily?

Anyway, tell me about your hyperthyroid kitty. What are your challenges? Is it pretty much a non-event? How’s it going?

But with radiation, it is in most cases completely curative, and no more hyperthyroid pills nor as many regular checkups of her thyroid levels. It is not that unusual now to have cats living 20 or more years, particularly the ones that are well cared for and go to regular vet visits (like yours).

Also consider how expensive hyperthyroid drugs are (and of that I have no idea). Radiation seems like a huge chunk of money all at once, but then remember in the pill treatment the cost of the medicine/month, plus the visits and bloodwork. Maybe ask your vet if s/he can give you an estimate of how much monthly the medication route is going to cost you.

Then multiply that by 12 months/year and then for about 3 years (being conservative that your cat has at least that many happy years ahead).

And like you’ve wondered, factor in also the inconvenience or not of giving pills twice daily to a cat. Some do fine, and I had no problem pilling them at the hospital, others were PITA and I learned quick reflexes to escape from sharp jaws and claws.

Anecdotal: I’ve had friends who’ve gone the 2 different routes. In the case of the one who was medicated, I think my friend didn’t have the lump change, plus the cat was getting other medications daily anyways so pilling wasn’t an issue. The one who went with radiation thinks he made the best decision ever, as that was the cat’s sole problem and it had been PITA to try and pill it. Radiation cured the condition and it was done and over.

Remember that radiation is also not without risks and inconveniences, at least short term. But don’t discount it solely based on “my cat is old”.

My cat is 14 and several months ago had surgery to remove most of a very enlarged thyroid. This was after two years of problems starting with chronic stomatitis that made two years of hell for the poor guy. We eventually managed to clear up the stomatitis, but not before he almost died of FHV.

Anyway, he recovered fantastically from the surgery and now looks and acts years younger than 14. His latest trip to the vet shows all his bloodwork normal for the first time in two years. We have an excellent vet who is very thorough about all the pros and cons of various treatments for our cats, and we have come to trust her judgement, especially after this. She thought after all his trauma with the various treatments for stomatitis that the radiation would be much more stressful on his system than surgery, and he is an incredibly difficult cat to pill, so this turned out to be by far the best option for him.

Kitty Hyperthyroidism came up in this thread about Nonacetone’s cat.
My cat Raven is 18 years old and has hyperthroidism. She’s only about 5 lbs. now. I’ve been giving her her medicine (Tapizole?) as a cream that I rub into her ears, it’s so much easier than trying to give her a pill. I have to clean her ears every couple of days too, but that’s easy. The medicine costs me about $35 a month. (I’m also easily amused so I sometimes I make eee-ka eee-ka noises when I rub it in.)

My Ichabod developed hyperthyroid at age (best guess) 18. We did the ear cream and it worked really well. She did brilliantly for a while though we lost her to cancer. I think the cream cost about $12 per tube, and the tube lasted a couple of months.

Karl, that’s what I’m thinking too. Yeah, Tosh is older, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes it to 20 or 21, and I don’t think I’m up to pilling her twice daily for five or six years. Plus, I’d be up to the cost of radiation by then if I do go the medication route. But, it’s still true that I have research to do.

Thanks, Emily, for that link. It had good information, though I’m sorry for Bob. (And I’d totally make those noises, too.)

My cat Jack is 10 and he gets 1/2 tablet of Methimazole twice a day–I crush it into his food. I have 2 other cats and I make sure he gets his pill before anyone else can eat it, which is simple–I just put down 3 dishes and they each run to one. :slight_smile: If I had to pill him, I think we’d both go insane. If he didn’t eat the pill in his food, I’d go with the ear cream.

At his last blood test, the vet said his numbers were the best for any hyperthyroid cat she’s ever seen, so I guess he’s doing well. He’s thinner than he used to be, but he eats well and plays with the other cats as usual.

Oops, now that I rethink, I realize that we didn’t have a single tube. We got the medicine in a bag of large syringes. Six per bag. The syringes were metered so you could see to squeeze out one dose on a gloved finger. We dosed once per day and the medicine was about 12-13 dollars.

Emily, that seems a bit expensive. I bought Ichabod’s medication through a local pharmacy that did its own compounding. It was a Medicine Shoppe. It’s possible you might be able to get it more cheaply than you are.

My cat was about 15 when she was diagnosed, and I went the radiation therapy route. She only lived for another 3 years, but it was totally worth it: having to pill her or even rub a cream on her ears would have just stressed both of us out for the rest of her life (but then Smokey always was a little high-strung).

My Phoebe was 16 or 17 when she was diagnosed, and I got the stuff to squirt into her ear every day. So much easier than a pill! She did very well on it, gained some weight- about 1.5 pounds, which is quite a bit, as she was a small cat, and her coat and eyes looked better after a couple of weeks. She lived to be 21. I’ve been thinking a lot about her the last couple of days- tomorrow is 3 years since I had to have her put to sleep :frowning:

Smokey’s 4-year anniversary was two months ago. I, too, had to put her down. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I never do this, but: {{{{hug}}}

I know. When the vet said “She’s gone”, I swear I heard my heart break. I am grateful that she had so many happy, healthy years as my kitty.

I get her medicine - metered syringes with 10 doses per syringe, 6 in a bag, and I get them through my Vet. But the difference may be that I give her 2 doses per day.

I did that for a while, but was able to get it down to one dose per day. It was Methamizole and it cost me $42.95 per month. I would just rub it in her ear while she ate every night. Not a big deal, but it kind of sucked when I had to go out of town for any amount of time because I always had to have a friend come over every day.

I’ve told this story before, but just in case - for those of you giving the ear gel to your cats, be VERY clear with catsitters and vets that look after your cat for extended periods of time. I put my girl in the petshotel for about 10 days last Christmas only to find out that they read 0.1ml as 1.0ml, thus giving her a month’s worth of medicine in three days. I was worried sick, but luckily she had no ill effects by the time I got back (I should mention that they didn’t tell me until I was picking her up!) and the petshotel refunded every penny I spent for her stay.

Also, my cat experienced kidney issues as the result of extended use of hyperthyroid medicines so I had to pill her every day in addition to the gel. If I could go back in time, I would have just shelled out for the radio-iodine treatment so she could have just enjoyed her last two years. Oh well, hindsight’s 20/20 and all that. I did the best I could and I don’t regret it.

Yep, the rest might be just where we live. Things tend to be cheap here.