Cat Disease: Hyperthyroidism – Part 2

Posted on May 28, 2013 under Cat Topics


Dr. Jane Matheys is a veterinarian and blogger for cat insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance.

So there are some options that we have as far as treating the hyperthyroidism.

Most of my clients opt to treat the condition medically. This means giving the kitty an anti-thyroid medication twice a day for the rest of its life. Now, most of the cats do fine on this medication, but, like Marissa’s cat, some of them can get some side effects. Usually, if side effects occur, what we can see is vomiting, not eating well, decreased appetite, oftentimes an itchy rash up around the head, the face, or the neck. Or, like in Marissa’s cat, we can see lethargy too.

If a kitty is having trouble with the medication, sometimes we can get the cat to tolerate the medicine if we cut back and we start at a very low dose of the anti-thyroid medication and very slowly increase that dosage. Sometimes we can avoid side effects that way.

Another thing that we can try is that we can get the anti-thyroid medication compounded into a gel. It’s called a trans dermal gel, meaning that you put it on the inside of the cat’s ear, and that gets absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream that way. By bypassing the stomach, sometimes we can avoid some of the gastrointestinal upsets and other side effects that we see from it.

Another option is a newer diet that’s come out on the market. It is called y/d. What it is, is a low-iodine diet. Iodine is important in making the thyroid hormones, and so if we decrease the iodine that’s available to the kitty, they can’t make as much of the thyroid hormone, and therefore, we shouldn’t see they hyperthyroid symptoms.

I’m not a big fan of this diet. Even though the iodine is very low in the diet, there might not be enough iodine that the kitty needs for other functions in the body. So the long-term effects of this haven’t really been studied effectively, I believe. So I usually use this diet only as a last resort.

In addition, the anti-thyroid medication and the therapeutic diet are not solving the problem. They’re not curing the hyperthyroidism. They’re just kind of masking the symptoms, and they’re not allowing that tumor to produce more thyroid hormone.

This is post 2, of a 3 part series. View Cat Disease: Hyperthyroidism РPart 1 here. Have you dealt with hyperthyroidism in your cat? Share your experience in the comments below.

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