Can medicine alter the taste of food?

moochymunkDecember 28, 2009

My 10-year-old cat was diagnosed as hyperthyroid about 14 months ago. It is being controlled with Tapazole and recent blood work shows his levels in the normal range. Within the last few weeks, he seems to be off his food. His appetite hasn't changed, but he is refusing his usual food. I thought at first he might have a sore tooth or mouth, but he's been checked by the vet and nothing was found. He will beg for treats or canned food and has no problem chewing. The vet ran a blood panel and his health is excellent.

Is it possible that the medication he is taking could make his food taste differently? He has always been a very fussy eater and does not tolerate change well, so I wonder if now he doesn't like the taste of the food.

My vet is on vacation, and will call me next week to follow up and hopefully he'll have some suggestions. But, in the meantime, has this happened to anyone else?

Thanks in advance!

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How long has your cat been on his current dose of Tapazole, and how long has his appetite been diminished? When was his most recent thyroid test, and do you have the result that you can post here?

Common side effects of Tapazole include inappetance and digestive upset. These problems may not arise until several weeks after a dose increase.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 3:14PM
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Hi Laurie,

His bloodwork was done last week and his level was 2. He's been on the same dose (5mg, 1x/day) since diagnosis 14 months ago. He's dropped a bit of weight, but otherwise looks and acts fit. His coat is gorgeous.

As I mentioned, it's not that he doesn't have an appetite -- he is hungry as he'll beg for treats and canned food. He just doesn't want his usual dry food. I'll put fresh food into his bowl, he'll eat a couple of nibbles and then 'bury' the rest of it and later on will meow his displeasure at the offering.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 5:13PM
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Do you know the lab's reference range for the test? Depending on the type of thyroid test performed and the lab's reference range, 2.0 could be hyper, hypo, or in normal range. Dropping weight and begging for food suggests that he might be hyperT, so I'd recommend checking that reference range to make sure he's within normal range.

Also, it's advisable to split the dose into two daily doses of 2.5 mg rather than one of 5 mg. That'll help keep his thyroid hormone level more even throughout the day so that he doesn't have the peaks and valleys that may be accountable for his weight loss and pickier appetite.

As far as rejecting his kibble is concerned ... smart cat! Canned food is much healthier for him, anyway, so I recommend you feed him the canned food he wants and ditch the kibble. He knows what his body needs.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 7:29PM
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Thanks, Laurie, but I really wasn't looking for an analysis of what someone else feels that I am doing wrong with my cat. I understand it's hard to get an in-depth history from a few sentences on a message board, but that's not really what I was asking, was it? I really just wanted one answer to a simple question. So, thanks anyway. I guess opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:14PM
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It could also be that the maker of the catfood has changed the formula. Although you did not ask for an opinion try to please your cat until you can visit with the vet.

Another thought is smell the dry food for any off smell. There is one pet place that all the food I purchased from them went bad very quickly. The date on the bag was good but I believe it had been stored improperly. When the bag got near the middle no one would eat it.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 8:55PM
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To answer the question directly. Yes, a cat can tell when their food has been laced. At least a couple of my cats could. When the systemic flea meds first came out, the instructions were to put it in their food. One cat would eat it and the other knew immediately it was altered. The only way I could get meds down her was a syringe. Their sense of smell puts ours to shame.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 9:07PM
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You may have thought that you were asking a simple question, but when you are questioning a critical issue like food intake in a chronically ill cat, the potential effects of the cat's illness and its treatment must be taken into consideration when attempting to answer the question.

If, however, you insist on simplifying a problem that in truth is likely to be very complex, then no, I am not aware of any direct link between methimazole and alteration of a cat's sense of taste.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:45PM
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