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Hyperthyroidism - help needed

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Vixmar, Jun 9, 2010.


  1. Vixmar

    Vixmar PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    I have 2 beautiful cats, One of them has been ill for some time now and was eventually diagnosed as having an over-active thyroid.

    Leo is 17 and used to weigh a whopping 8.5kg 2 years ago. He has been on 15mg of Vidalta for over a year now and his weight has dropped again. He now weighs a paltry 3.6kg and the vet has increased the dose of Vidalta to 25mg a day plus a painkiller.

    Poor little mite cannot use his left leg as it keeps folding under him. (It is horrendous to watch him trying to move around - but he does not seem in pain.) Vet said he has so little muscle that at moment the leg cannot support him.

    I'm on a mission to feed him up but have to watch what he eats. Give him food too rich and it emerges from one end or the other! Not pleasant.

    I have changed his food to Hills Science Diet (dry) and yesterday started cooking him chicken breast. I boiled them in water and fed him some every hour. In total he ate 2.5 - his brother Max had a small amount.

    Does anyone know of any kind of food I might be able to feed him that would help slab some weight on. I would like to say money is not an issue but unfortunately it is. However, after last Friday's vet bill the remainder of my wage went on the cats. (I'm managing on cheap bread and beans for the time being.)

    Any suggestions would be gratefully received and hopefully I can pull him through this. He is a tough little guy and I miss him diving around like a loonatic.
     
  2. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Poor boy, but very lucky to have you as an owner.

    I have a thyroid condition and cats but not a cat with a thyroid condition :) But I do know how hard a thyroid condition can be to control.

    How is his appetite? If it's good and he's eating plenty it may be that his thyroid meds dosage needs increasing; no amount of trying to feed him up and increase his weight will work unless he's receiving the right medication dose. Unfortunately, that can be only be ascertained by checking his thyroid hormone levels again which is yet more cost, I know :(

    Most (human) doctors and vets will medicate to a level that brings the thyroid hormones to within the reference range for 'normal' but what suits one ca/person may not suit another and they need to be at at the according high/low end (depending on whether hypo or hyperthyroid) of the range for optimum health and weight.

    Still couldn't hurt though to try and pack as many calories into him as possible.
     
  3. Vixmar

    Vixmar PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    He has just had another thyroid test 4th June. Levels are very high and he was on medication of 15mg Vidalta a day. It has been increased to 25mg a day. It has only been 5 days but I am desperate to try to feed him up as quickly as possible. His appetite is good - as always.

    My problem used to be stopping him pinching anything containing fat (the "fall out" was horrendous - the amount I spend trying to clean carpet afterwards to no avail!!)

    I really was just hoping someone could steer me in the right direction food wise. Reading through the forum a lot of people seem to feel wet food is good but my vet practice think it better to have dry. Am becoming pretty confused.
     
  4. Dally Banjo

    Dally Banjo PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear about Leo :( our Simba had the same thing last year & had both glands removed & is like a new cat, he's 16 now :thumbup:

    Before he had the op & was on pills then his back legs suddenly kept giving way it was very scary the vet gave him Pottasium (prob spelt wrong) to & was fine immediaetly. Have you had him to the vet about his back leg?
     
  5. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    I'm not a fan of dried food for cats but then I don't have an elderly cat with hyperthyroidism so, quite honestly, for all I know it could be the best thing for him. There are some brands, such as Royal Canin, who make breed, age, activity level, etc, specific food so one of those that's more calorific and higher in nutrients (such as the one designed for a queen feeding kittens) might be good for him.

    I think though that I'd be inclined to feed him a variety of foods and just about anything that he'll eat (and that his gut will tolerate without a big mess at the other end!).

    Ultimately, and without really overloading him with fats which as you mentioned you can't and shouldn't do, I don't think there's any one specific food that will hugely help with weight gain.. I think it's just a case of getting his hormone levels to optimum and feeding him as much of anything that he likes freely.
     
  6. gemini

    gemini PetForums Member

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    I have an overactive thyroid myself, and I have never felt so ill in my life! I couldn't walk up stairs, couldn't get up if I knelt down. Thankfully now I am on medication I am a lot better. The only good thing was that I lost weight (which has now piled back on now that my thyroid is stabilised)

    But, a month after I was diagnosed I rang my local Cats Protection and said I was interested in adopting an older cat. They said they had just got an elderly cat in, and they were worried she might have a thyroid problem. I somehow felt it was fate, so we went to see her and fell in love. She was painfully thin, and you could see here heart beating through her skin. The vet wasn't sure how old she was - best he could say was 10+

    The vet tried her on thyroid tablets but she continued losing weight even though I was feeding her up as much as I could. I used to feed her about a third of a pouch (as much as she would eat in one go) about 8 times a day. Plus I bought cat milk for her. But her weight dropped to under 2 1/2 kilos and I thought she was going to die.

    Anyway the only option in the end was for her to have a thyroidectomy. I was really worried because she seemed so frail, but she pulled through, and we continued to feed her up. She's still on the thin side, but at least now she has a little meat on her bones.

    I'm not sure whether a thyroid op would be appropriate for your cat, but I'm so glad Meg had hers.
     
  7. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    How are his kidney values? Was the blood otherwise ok (apart from elevated T4 etc?)?

    Just asking as you may need a certain type of food if the kidney is also affected (often is with hyperthyroidism)

    As Gemini said, some cats don't respond to the meds, in which case the thyroid can be removed, which normally sorts the issue.
     
  8. Vixmar

    Vixmar PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you all for your replies and help. I must admit it gives me hope.

    Dally Banjo you are the first person I know who has had the same problem with the folding up legs. Leo is due to go back to the vets in 2 weeks so will definitely ask about the pottasium. Thanks.

    Gemini, your Meg is so lucky you found her. Was impressed to hear that even at 2.2kg she was able to have the op. I must say none of the vets in our local practice have even suggested having his thyroid removed but Im definitely coming round to the idea of asking if its possible given his age etc. He is very good about taking his pills (2 man job obviously!)

    Hobbs2004. Yes, he has had all the tests for kidneys and liver etc. The levels of these are fine. The vet had to check these in order to see if he could be given a liquid called Metacam which she said would help his arthritus and pain for leg. Although he never seemed to be in pain - it's more a case of me thinking he must be the way the back leg just gives.

    Can anyone tell me roughly how much the thyroid op costs? If its possible for him to have this and worth it for his quality of life then I will need to find the money somewhere - as we do.

    The chicken-on-demand seems to be working fine and so far he is keeping it down at both ends thankfully. Im convinced that he has put on a little bit of weight already.

    Again, thanks to those who have replied - nice to know I am not alone.
     
  9. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Best way to see whether he is putting on weight or not, is to get the scales out. Step on them and see how much you weigh. Then step on with you holding the cat and the difference between that weight and your own - well that is how much your cat weighs!

    At the moment I would probably do that weekly.

    With regards to food - boiled chicken is a great light food but you cannot feed your cat on it for too long. A week or two is fine. The reason being that the cooking destroys some key nutrients in the meat. Also, just giving your cat chicken breast does not contain all the nutrients your cat needs (they also need bone and innards - not just the stuff we humans would eat). However, you could try raw food.

    Instead of cooking the chicken, slice the raw up and see whether he eats it. If he does and you have some freezer space then check out some companies that make pre prepared complete raw cat minces. Just a thought.

    Are you feeding him any other food? Any wet food or dry food?
     
    #9 hobbs2004, Jun 10, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  10. gemini

    gemini PetForums Member

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    I think it's the other way round Vixmar. We are lucky to have her:) She's a feisty little thing, and despite her small size she's definitely top cat in out house! She isn't a very good patient, and so giving her tablets was hell! Maybe that's one of the reasons the vet decided to operate. But whatever the reason it was definitely right for her. We brought her home the day after her op, and even though she had a horrific scar on her neck it didn't seem to bother her and it healed really well.

    When she had her op Cats Protection were still paying for her treatment, and when we gave them £100 as a donation because they had paid for all her treatment up until then, but I was told that the op only cost £80 which I thought was very cheap considering that without it she would have been on pills for life - maybe Cats Protection get a discount?

    Good luck whatever you decide to do:)
     
  11. Dally Banjo

    Dally Banjo PetForums VIP

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    I would take Leo before then if he does need some I think Simba's op was about £190 worth every penny :thumbup:
     
    #11 Dally Banjo, Jun 10, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  12. Vixmar

    Vixmar PetForums Newbie

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    Hobbs2004. Thanks for advice re chicken. Im still putting down Hills Diet Active Longevity and Kit-e-kat (the only tins he can eat without barfing). He also gets half a large tin of tuna a day. I will carry on with the chicken for a few days as he is definitely scoffing it down and I really can see a difference in his back end. The bones are not sticking up like they were even last week. I cooked a whole chicken for him yesterday and have been giving him leg meat too. Not keen on trying to get him to eat it raw at the moment given digestive problems from the past but may stick a whole chicken in the pressure cooker and cook until bones are soft - thereby letting him have all the chicken.

    I will definately be weighing him tomorrow to see if I am right. The vet wants to see him in 2 weeks but Im so concerned regarding his leg that if he has put on any weight I intend to take him back next week. Poor sod ends up going in a circle if he tries to move too quick!! Bit like a boat with only one oar - awful to see. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to laugh about it instead of cry.

    Gemini - thank you for advising how well your Meg did after having the op. I have spent a few hours today checking out regarding this and it looks like there can be a few downsides to it. Am amazed if the cost is only £80. :eek6: Seems extremely low. I was afraid it was going to be over £300. Good grief his pills alone are £50 a month. (Never mind the cost of carpet cleaner, chicken, tuna, kitchen roll, plasters - for me - etc.)
     
  13. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    It is ok to cook the meat but please do NOT cook the bones and give them to your cat. You can feed chicken bones raw as they are more pliable when they are raw but once cooked they splinter easily and are a hazard! Bones = raw, uncooked only.

    I am not trying to convert you to raw feeding but a lot of people who have cats with ibd or other digestive disorders feed their cats raw as they have found that they can control what their cat eats (in terms of ingredients) a lot more easily when they are raw feed than when they get commercial food that frequently has fillers. Raw meat would also be what a cat would get in the wild - they wouldn't really have a pot to cook it or a tin opener to open a tin :D.

    It is absolutely ok for you to feed him the cooked chicken (only the meat though) for a wee while as long as he is also getting other food that will give him the nutrients that he needs.

    Hope he continues eating and putting on weight, the poor little mite.
     
    #13 hobbs2004, Jun 10, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
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