Please--Need Advice on Hyper-T Cat

CassandraJuly 26, 2010

I am just heartsick as I write this. My 11 year old cat has had radiation therapy twice for hyper-T. Each time he lasted 1 1/2 years before it came back. And now the warning signs are there once again: rapid weight loss, agitation, and the yowling which is driving me crazy. I love this cat but I am at my wits end with him. The radiation is very expensive and the 6 weeks separation terrible for him. I just don't think I can do it for a third time. I don't know if I should ask to switch to some other treatment or whether his body just wants to succumb to the disease and I should let him go. Can anyone offer advise? Thanks.

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I don't understand how he could be hyper-thyroid at all;
my understanding is that the radiation destroys the thyroid gland.

An old boyfriend had 2 elderly cats who became hyper-thyroid, & he had radiation done on both of them with seemingly miraculous results.

Also, the cats were not separated from him for 6 weeks but for several days.

You might research this before you make a decision, & you might check with another vet.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:37AM
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How awful for you and your boy. I've heard of the occasional cat requiring a second I-131 treatment for hyperT, but I don't think I've ever heard of hyperT recurring after the second I-131 treatment. And I've also never heard of a cat needing to be hospitalized for six weeks after I-131. I believe most cats are cleared to come home after 5-7 days or possibly two weeks at the most. I think in your situation, I'd seek out a different radiation clinic and see what they have to say about your cat's situation. I don't think I'd trust the same clinic to repeat the procedure again.

Of course you also have the alternative of managing your boy's hyperT with medication. it's not a cure, and the med isn't without potentially serious side effects, esp. long term, but it may be your best option at this point.

I certainly wouldn't consider euthanasia until all other options were exhausted.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:31AM
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Thanks for your responses. Last time Basil had the radiation, the doctor did say he treated a cat that needed it three times. There is always the chance that some cells are not caught. I just can't believe the odds are so much against my cat. Also, as I understand it the quarantine length depends on state rules. Here it is 4-6 weeks, but this length also depends on how much the radioactivity lingers. He was there 6 weeks last time. . . It would sure be different if it were just a few days!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Given the gravity of the situation & the fact that what your vet has said & done are different from anything Laurie or I (not that I'm as wise as Laurie!) has ever heard of, if he were mine, I'd check with another vet.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 2:18PM
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I checked your member page and saw that you are in MN. That got my attention since I am also in MN and one of my cats is hyperT and a good candidate for I-131. After some quick research, it appears that the U of MN is the only facility providing I-131 in MN, so I assume that's where you've had it done on your boy. Their client sheet states that the average post 1-131 hospitalization is 14-16 days, but that the length of stay is dependent on how quickly the radioiodine is excreted by the kidneys. In cats with diminished renal function, it can take longer for radioiodine to be excreted to a safe level. Based on the fact that it apparently took your boy six weeks to excrete the radioiodine, I assume he also has CRF (chronic renal failure). Am I correct? If so, most vets do not recommend I-131 for renal patients, but would rather opt for management of hyperT with medication. Has your vet made such a recommendation to you?

What are your cat's most recent creatinine and BUN blood values, and when was that most recent bloodwork run?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Thanks Laurie. I have PM'd you with some information.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:23AM
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Marita, I have a cat who was diagnosed with hyper-t (and CRF) more than four years ago. We have had her on medication every day since. It is obviously not the most convenient situation as it means that someone has to be available to pill her twice a day, every day- but in all honesty, it is not all that bad. Since it's really our only option for her, we think it's a pretty good option! Her thyroid has proven hard to control and the medication dosage has fluxuated largely over the years. It means blood work about every 3 months, and while the costs and hassles do add up a little, in the end they are not insurmountable. I realize that we will not be doing this forever.

Our vet also offers a gel form of the medication that can be rubbed into their ears in the event that they are bad pill takers. I'm sure that option is a little more expensive, but a good one for some cats.

It's already been said, but I think you need to talk to a vet that you trust wholeheartedly and see what he thinks is the best option for your little buddy. All I have to offer is that if you decide to use medication as the control, it is a reasonable option, and much better to try than to just let him succumb to the hyper-t.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:58AM
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As quasifish mentioned, there are med alternatives if you decide to manage Basil's hyperT medically rather than with another I-131 treatment. Methimazole (Tapazole) is the most common med used to treat hyperT in this country. It is widely available as a normal pill, but can also be compounded into a transdermal gel (applied to the ear flap), a flavored liquid, or flavored chews. For cats who experience digestive upset with oral forms of methimazole (a fairly common problem), the transdermal gel bypasses the gut and eliminates most gastric problems. Alternatively, there is carbimazole, the pro-drug of methimazole. Carbimazole converts into methimazole after it leaves the stomach, so it typically doesn't cause the sort of stomach upset that methimazole can. Both of my hyperT cats have been successfully managed on carbimazole compounded into liver-flavored chews that they gobble up eagerly as treats. There is no pilling stress and no gastric upset. It's been a great management option for my hyperT household.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 11:13AM
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I'd not jump to conclusions about the cause of the weight loss, agitation, and yowling until some diagnostics are done. I've seen diabetes, renal failure, liver disease, and cancer all cause the same clinical signs. No use getting worked up about hyperT4 if that is not his current problem. Better to get him to the vet and see what is going on. Could be something easy (and cheap) to fix, or maybe not, but still better to know... Good luck with him.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:33PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice on this. I now know what some options are and will try to get some answers about what is going on with Basil-boy.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 7:32AM
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