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Help with a Thyroid Issue

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by alison foy, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. alison foy

    alison foy PetForums Newbie

    Dec 6, 2018
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    Hello, this is my first post. I'm hoping someone can help. My mother has a 16 year old domestic longhair, who has been treated for a thyroid issue for the last 18 months. Recently, she has lost weight and a blood test has confirmed that even with a dose of 20mg Vidalta, her thyroid levels are too high. We had previously been told by the lovely vet we usually see that there is a liquid alternative - Thyronorm - that might be an option, given the difficulties of getting the cat to take pills.

    Unfortunately, our regular vet was on holiday when the results returned and we were called by her boss, who has a tendency to take a forensically detailed (and commensurately expensive) approach to everything. He is pushing for my mother to take a referral to a specialist with a view to surgery or possible radio therapy.

    My mother is of the opinion that the cat is too old to endure these treatments and would prefer the Thyronorm, but the vet seems to be placing more obstacles in the way, saying that the cat would have to start on a low dose - 5mg, which we know would be too low - and have to have blood tests every 2-3 weeks at a cost of £140 each, plus £40 consultation... that I shouldn't handle the medication if I want any more children etc etc..

    I am suspicious about this, as this vet always seems to follow whichever route comes with the highest price tag, and am thinking of taking the cat's blood test results and history to another vet for a second opinion. Before I do this however, does anyone have any experience of this liquid medication? Many thanks for reading if you've gotten this far...
  2. Angela_

    Angela_ PetForums Junior

    Nov 7, 2018
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    My 18 year old cat has been successfully treated with Thyronorm for the last 5 months. He has been having a blood test every month or 2 (until recently when he developed other health issues).

    Thyronorm is reall easy to give, apparently it has a taste of honey. Never had any problems giving it to Thomas. :)
    TriTri likes this.
  3. Angrybird

    Angrybird PetForums Newbie

    Aug 17, 2018
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    Find a new vet.
    Angela_ and TriTri like this.
  4. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Oct 31, 2017
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    Hi there. I have had many hyperthyroid cats. Whichever medication they are on, I believe they need testing again after three weeks and a few weeks after that and again every 1-2 months and then later, at longer intervals, depending on how the cat is doing, to check the thyroid levels and work out the right doseage. Those prices are astronomical! Based on those prices I would change vets. My current cat with a thyroid disorder has a Felimazole tablet hidden in Easy Pill cat putty that I buy from Violet online. It’s like a puttty you hide the pill in and she thinks it’s a treat! When my vet was unable to get Felimazole for around 6/8 weeks earlier this year, she had thyronorm and that worked a treat too. She has had the quantities upped and lowered a few times, because really they don’t make a pill on a lower enough dose for her. (She is tiny). I’ve not heard great things about the Vidalta, but that’s not say it ‘s bad for all cats but it can make some sick. There are other alternative meds including thiafeline tablets and also meds that you can give rubbed into the ear. A pill popper can be very useful with some cats.
    Some cats suit radio active treatment and some having their thyroid removed. My mum’s elderly cat was operated on many times in his old age, even at 23 the vet suggested having the thyroid removed, but it depends on how well the cat is and how comfortable you are with it and your mum isn’t or needs more reassurance from her vet and explaining why that’s their first choice.
    I would suggest you watch the free webinar on the icatcare website on cats with thyroid disorders, if you need more information. As for not handling the tablets if you want to have children in the future, you just need to wear gloves when handling the meds. That’s the same for many meds out there.
    Angela_ likes this.
  5. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Jan 19, 2014
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    I give my boy thyronorm. He gets his syringed onto food. It isn't a specified approach by norbrook the manufacturers but it works perfectly well this way. I have been using it for almost 2 years now for my cat.

    This way there is no hazard to me. I don't use gloves as I never get it on my hands but always wash my hands afterwards just in case.

    It's easy to stick the syringe on the bottle tip it upside down and draw of the required amount then squirt it on the food. It is very palatable and my boys tells me if I haven't remembered it. :)

    After that I wash my hands with soap and water to be on the safe side.

    Cleaning dishes all left over food goes into the general bin not recycling and the cat bowls get washed in the dishwasher at maximum temperature and an extra rinse. If I hand wash them they get soaked, washed separately and rinsed thoroughly and I wear gloves.

    The active ingredients are an issue to anyone not just individuals planning on having children.

    If you are unhappy with the vet I suggest you get a second opinion elsewhere. My boy wasn't a candidate for surgery or iodine treatment for the same reasons. He is doing really well on thyronorm and it's so easy to use. It will last him till he's ready to go for other reasons. He is on a high dose too.
    moggie14 likes this.
  6. HappyKitty

    HappyKitty PetForums Member

    Jun 7, 2018
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    Although, surgery works for many, it's not something to be entered into lightly and your Mum shouldn't feel pressurised if she doesn't feel it's right for her cat. I didn't want to put my 15 year old girl through it when she was diagnosed.

    When changing medication vet's will often start off on lower dose and slowly increase until they have the right level, at least that's what my vet did. I think my girl had three blood tests before we got the right balance. Long term Thyronorm will be easier to administer and less stressful for the cat. Also there's no finding half sucked tablets two hours later. My girl lived for 2.5 years after diagnosis. It wasn't always easy but she had a couple of good years before dementia, blindness and deafness kicked in closely together.
  7. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Not available for comment

    Mar 7, 2010
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    Hyperthyroidism is caused by a thyroid tumour. 98-99% of these are benign and non-aggressive - though they cause problems by secreting far too much thyroid hormone. The other 1-2% are malignant.

    Surgery and radioiodine are potentially curative treatments as they remove/destroy the tumour. Medical treatments such as Vidalta, Thyronorm etc do not cure the tumour. They just stop it from producing so much thyroid hormone. Meanwhile, the tumour will continue to grow and - in a small number of cases - become malignant. This is why it's common for the medication to stop working after a while, necessitating higher doses: the tumour is growing.

    To be fair to your vet, he will be making far more money from your mum's cat staying on medical treatment than by referring elsewhere for surgery or radioiodine treatment. The latter two are more expensive 'up front' (though not always in the long term), but your vet wouldn't see any of the money paid for them. So it's unlikely his recommendations are made with a view to making himself richer.

    And, to a degree, he's right in what he says: continued medical management will potentially involve more blood tests, dose changes and vet visits overall, with higher cost at the end.


    While, in textbooks, radioiodine treatment and surgery are considered better treatments for the DISEASE, that doesn't necessarily make them the best option for every individual CAT.

    Logistics, finances, the cat's age and other medical conditions all influence what is ultimately the best choice for one particular cat. In an older hyperthyroid cat, curing the disease is perhaps less crucial than in the cat diagnosed at 11 or 12 years of age, for example.

    Therefore, continuing with medical treatment may well be the genuine best option for your mother's cat. Even if it isn't, it may be all she can do logistically/financially or may just be what she prefers to do for HER cat. That is fine.

    If your mother wishes to proceed with Thyronorm and doing so will not harm her cat, then it is not the vet's place to stop her. He can and should make sure she is in possession of all the facts to make an informed decision, but that decision is hers - not his.

    Your mother can either request that her cat starts on Thyronorm and proceed from there - the vet cannot and should not stop her - or, if she would feel more comfortable, she can visit a different vet.

    Hopefully the cat's failure to respond well to Vidalta will be corrected with Thyronorm; if not, then it's more likely that we are looking at a particularly large or malignant thyroid tumour which may not be controllable with medication.

    I hope things get a bit easier for you all!
    moggie14, Eilidh and kittih like this.
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