Questions about hyperthyroidism in cats

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Country4ever, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2007
    Hi all,

    My kitty is 12 years old. Last year I put him on a diet, because he weighed 19#. He was also throwing up alot. I decided that he couldn't tolerate corn or wheat, so I started buying cat food that didn't have grains in it. He cried constantly, wanting his old Purina Cat Chow back, but it would make him vomit whenever I gave in.
    Well, he lost alot of weight........and didn't stop losing it. He weighs about 6# now. Several months ago I took him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
    The vet explained that it could be just the thyroid malfunctioning, or he could have a thyroid tumor. We would need an ultrasound to determine which it was, and then we'd need to decide if we just wanted to try the med, or radioactive iodine, or surgery.
    I decided to just give the med, since the other options would cost over $1,000, at least.

    Every time we put him on the med, he gets worse, and quits eating all-together. We took him off it for about 4-5 days, and he started eating again. Then we started back up on the med at a half dose. Today we brought that dosage up a little. He's looking awful and won't eat at all.
    The vet said there is a gel we could use on the ear, but the absorption is questionable.
    Does anyone use the gel, and does it still upset their stomachs?
    Has anyone heard of any other kind of treatment or med that could help our kitty?
    I don't think he has very much longer, if we can't get him to eat more.
  2. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
    Unfortunately with thyroid problems in cats treatment is extremely difficult. The meds will cause him to not eat. The transdermal gels are not as good as the pills/liquid and often cost twice as much but as far as I could tell with the type of gel we used on one of mine, she has immune problems and will throw up the pills, it doesn't upset the stomach as bad . However the meds don't treat the tumor or make it go away, and tumors are what cause the majority of thyroid cases in older cats.
    Radiocat procedures are very costly but have a great success rate if you are near enough to a center that does it:

    My advice is to let him eat whatever he wants, or that you can get him to eat, for the duration.
  3. Crusty McPottydoodle

    Crusty McPottydoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2009
    The Wet Coast
    My 16 year old cat has hyperthyroidism. She had been on the liquid because we couldn't get her to take the pills.

    We found that the liquid seemed to not be a consistent dosage (toward the end of the bottle she seemed to not be getting enough meds and would start vomitting) and put her on the pills and found a way to get her to take them.

    She is much, much better.

    We never tried the gel (had never heard of it before this), so I'm afraid I'm no help there.

    If you do try the gel, please give an update.

  4. PitterPaws

    PitterPaws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2007
    I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. I have a 15 year old cat and she has Hypertyroidism. I pill her daily without any problems. Maybe you should just try him on his favorite cat food for awhile just to get him eating and so you can get the pill in him, I'm afraid he won't last long if he doesn't get his medicine in him.
    I've never tried the Gel so I can't tell you anything about that. I hope your kitty gets better.
  5. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    my cat has it! It is to expensive for us to treat and he is just a cat. i do love him so please don't jump on me for that! I always make sure he has dry food out so he can eat all the time. I give him wet food in the morning and at night i give him what ever meat we eat. he likes chicken the best. I have had him for many years and he is my buddy, it hurts to see him like this but he is active and the vet said OK. he just doesn't look good, breaks my heart!
  6. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2007
    Thanks everyone,
    It is such a sad situation. Over the past month, I have tried every kind of food there is.......all different kinds of cat food, baby food, salmon, chicken, etc. Its like he would rather starve to death than eat something he doesn't like. For awhile, what worked was his old favorite, Purina Cat Chow, but I think the grain in it makes him vomit. I would take it, put it in a blender and then mix it with water, and he seemed to like that for awhile.

    He didn't eat at all yesterday, so I finally added some pedialyte to some baby food and put it in a syringe and fed him.

    As soon as I stop the Tapazole for a day or 2, he gets his appetite back. So it seems like he'll either die from starvation from the Tapazole, or die from untreated hyperthyroidism.

    He was on 5 mg of the Tapazole for a month and when they rechecked him, his T4 was still greater than 100. The vet said some cats are slow to respond, but that (like you said KDbeads), the medicine won't help if its a tumor........which I'm starting to think it is.

    Besides the cost, I didn't want to even consider the radioactive iodine, as the vet hospital would have to keep him for a couple weeks, and I'd be so afraid he'd think we gave him away........especially if he died there.
    I haven't gotten a second opinion because it sounds like (from everything I've read on the internet), my vet has told me everything that's available.
    My cat's labs are normal, except for the T4.
    He's just skin and bones. I keep hoping for a miracle.
    Thanks everyone.
  7. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    I'm so sorry you and your kitty are going through this.
  8. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2007
    Thanks Brindlebtch,

    I went to the vets this morning, planning on getting the ear gel, but he said that would make his stomach just as upset as the pills, so I didn't get it.
    I think we'll just stop with the medication and try to make him as comfortable as possible. [​IMG]
    We just can't imagine it here without our titter tat.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm so sorry you're stuck with this. <big hug>

    If he just won't eat on the meds and is miserable then I agree that stopping them and just doing what you can to make him happy by conventional means sounds like a very reasonable plan. FWIW, you can sometimes keep a hyperthyroid cat going for a good long while just by shovelling vast amounts of food in.

    My beautiful weird little Cattleya cat died last June, basically of hyperthyroidism, after having the condition for several years. She was not medicated at any time, because she was convinced that everyone and everything in the world was out to get her, and pilling her daily and taking her into the vet regularly for bloodwork to monitor thyroid levels would have been an unacceptably huge stress for her. So we just encouraged her to eat as much as she could/would.

    In the last 4 months of her life, she weighed maybe 5 lbs and was up to about 3-4 cats' worth of food per day. But, she seemed happy enough that way, so I would say it "worked" as much as anything can.

    Sometimes there is no magic wand, and you just have to do the best for them that you can.

    Best of luck,

  10. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
    It's awful watching them waste away. Been there. I had a Maine Coon that ended up with diabetes and the vet gave me 4 to 6 months even with insulin, he was 18 pounds before and when we got to the vet he was only 7.
    I decided he was going to make it and did far too much research then put him on a raw food diet. The need for insulin dropped, I tested his sugar several times a day and bought him 22 months before acute renal failure took him from us. There was no way to fix the renal failure and no way to know for sure what caused it.
    what I've read, hyperthyroid doesn't respond to diet like diabetes does but it may be worth a look into to give him as much of a chance as possible. You can even buy it frozen and not make it yourself now. Most natural food stores can order it for you or you can buy online. I mostly made my own but did try Oma's Pride which Topaz LOVED. (but stay away from the beef, most cats will throw that back up)
    And for more info on cat nutrition, there are raw food recipes here:

    And as for the Cat Chow puking problem, it may not be the grain causing the problem. Some of the additives can be an irritant if their throats are raw already. I've got one that will throw up ANY hard food unless she's taken her pepcid for the day. Topaz had to be put on sucralfate at one point because he tossed his food to the point where he really messed up his throat and stomach and created an ulcer. I have a CRF (chronic renal failure) dog right now that does the same and has to be put on the sucralfate every couple of months for his ulcers.

    Best of luck.

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