Off topic - slightly

Good evening everyone,

Just wondered if anyone had any comments/experiences regarding Thyroid Treatment in Cats.

I have been to the vets today and he suspects possible Thyroid problems, obviously with all that's happened to me, it is clouding my view. My Cat is 20 years old and I wouldn't want to create any problems by giving her thyroid meds.

Thank you : >

52 Replies

  • When I first started off with Graves I met someone I used to know from years ago and hadn't seen for a while and she said that her cat had an overactive thyroid, as far as I know she just gave it anti thyroid drugs every day.

    Not sure how though ie whether the meds came in liquid or tablet form. Last thing you want is to make a 20 year old cat's life miserable forcing it to take a tablet every day. I have a feeling it is fairly common in cats though. Sorry I can't be of more help.

  • Morning Fruitandnutcase,

    Thank you for your reply, It is a tricky situation, I suppose she could never have all the issues I have had, but It just runs at the back of my mind. He is a great vet and a lovely person so I should find comfort in that. He is absolutely nothing like a doctor.

  • I remember feeling really shocked when the person told me her poor cat was hyper. I felt so ill I couldn't imagine what it must be like for a little cat. I'd forgotten that pets get better treatment than humans and vets usually seem to really like their patients.

    I remember taking one cat to the vet and coming out and saying to my husband 'was that my imagination or did he actually kiss the cat?' Seems that it wasn't my imagination 😀

    We had to move to a vet closer to home because the last cat didn't travel at all well - pee, poo and puke. I practically had to be tranquillised to get him there - me not the cat, eventually I bought a buggy so that I could wheel him round. I have to say I looked really stupid but at least the cat was happy - well maybe not happy but at least he got there without losing his dignity.

  • Hello Fruitandnutcase,

    That is so sweet, bless. Josie is the same, hates travelling, we have tried all sorts but not a buggy - I don't think she would be impressed - wheeling her 9 miles each way, it's an excellent idea though : >

  • KW, what rotten luck. Cats tend to become hyperthyroid and dogs hypothyroid. From what I've heard, animals treated by vets for thyroid dysfunction get much better treatment than we do. I think anti-thyroid drugs will be helpful and prolong your cat's quality of life. She's a grand age.

  • Morning Clutter,

    Thank you, I just needed a little reassurance, after all the misery thyroid meds has caused me. She is a grand old age, 93 in human years, next year will be the big 100.

  • I have a pet care company and we look after people's cats while they are on holiday. Hyperthyroid cats are pretty common, especially as they age. The normal treatment is in tablet form.

    There is no need to poke the tablet in if your cat isn't one to co-operate. Hide it in something nice like a piece of king prawn, or if that doesn't work then grind it up between two teaspoons and mix into something strong tasting like

    mackeral pate

    smoked salmon pate

    ordinary liver pate


    cream cheese

    I've never yet had a cat refuse all of those, although with some you have to ring the changes. As you can imagine, when we only visit a couple of times a day, catching an unco-operative cat and poking a pill in is just an invitation to it to go and hide next day! I do have a pill poker for emergencies, but its not a realistic long term option.

    Hyperthyroid cats seem to live a fair time, I can think of one that lasted five years from diagnosis and he wasn't particularly young at the beginning. So its by no means a death sentence if confirmed, you just have to learn how to manage it with your cat.

    There is now also some prescription food that works so well in milder cases that there is no need for medication. We've had several cats on it (Hills y/d) Its fun when there are several cats in the house and you have to make sure the right food goes in the right cat!

  • Morning Ruthi,

    Thank you for all the advice, cream cheese used to work well, but she wised up to the fact their was a pill hidden within, so with her other meds I crush it up and mix it with her food, but sometimes even then she seems to know - remarkable - she is no fool that's for sure.

    I will have a look at the hills food, she does have special food for kidneys, digestion and her age, but i didn't realise their was one for her new complaint.

    She is still such a happy and loving little girl

    Best wishes

  • One of our cats was diagnosed hyper last month, he is on carb equivalent for another month then having thyroidectomy op. He is only 8 years old so an op or RAI is the best option.

  • Hypohen, do vets test TSH, FT4 and FT3? I hope your boy does well.

  • My cat had those tests done. Better than us..... that's why I asked the vet if he'd take my blood. :)

  • Did the vet take your blood? I was speaking to someone whose son is a vet and she mentioned something about vets being allowed to treat humans whereas doctors aren't allowed to treat animals. I should have found out more but next time I see her I'll ask her more about what she said.

  • Not yet. I'll wear him down eventually. ;)

  • i certainly wouldnt let my local gps treat any of my animals after the way they treated me lol.

  • years ago i worked in an animal rehoming centre and i didnt know vets could treat humans but there again they are more highly skilled then doctors. if a vet did treat a human for what ever reasons would we still be charged the same as we would for a an animal.

  • Hello Joyce59,

    Can a vet treat a human, oh how I would love my vet to treat me, he would go the extra mile and I know my heath would improve.

  • if you have a look at the post from fruitand nut case (administrator) she states that they can..

    although id never heard off it before.

  • TSH and T4 Clutter, he started on 10mg of carb now on 15mg and should manage without any replacement after the op. My daughter is a vet but unfortunately doesn't do small animal so we can't get it on the cheap :(

  • Morning Hypohen,

    Sorry to hear about one of your cats, I know Josie's sister was hyper from about that age, sadly it wasn't picked up until it was to late.

    The vet said it is quite common from seven upwards for cats to become hyper. Poor little might having to have the op. If a op is needed then it is best to be done when they are relatively young, I know the vet wouldn't operate on Josie at her age.

    I wish you well

  • Hi!

    Saw a lot of hyperthyroid cats when I was a vet nurse in the 70's and 80's.

    Interestingly prior to the late 70's it was generally though that older cats that became skinny, thirsty etc. were generally thought of as having problems with thier kidneys such as nephritis and owners were carefully instructed to give their cats low protein diets to de-stress the kidneys. However things were discovered and narrowed down to pointing towards over-active thyroid.

    It is now considered a very common condition.

    As others have said treatment is by tablet but there are other options for you to think about and discuss with your vet.....

    There is surgery (thyroidectomy) but a certain degree of stabilising needs to be done prior and you also have to take into account the general health of an aged puss for general anaesthesia and recovery. The aim of surgery is curative but occasionally some of the healthy parts of the gland or if some is missed the hyper flares up again.

    Also there is RAI, just like as with humans but this is only offered by referral in certain large veterinary hospitals and RCVS hospitals that have the facilities., It requires a stay in vet hospital cattery until background radiation levels are safe.

    It's horrible when one of our little fur monsters gets ill like this but I can honestly say that every hyperthyroid cat I have known, they have all bumbled along quite happily, bless their stoical little hearts! It's us owners (slaves!) that need reassuring!

    Give her a gentle fuss from me! :)

  • Hello SpongeCat,

    Thank you for your reply, and yes I will give her a gentle fuss from you : > she loves all that, in fact she still loves having her belly rubbed, she still rolls over like a little jack russell.

    I feel bad now for not proceeding yesterday, I just got so worried because of my own experiences. I have another appointment and will get her tested and give her the medication. Poor little angel must feel dreadful, I know I do.

    She does have Ipaktine powder for kidney troubles and is currently on two different (New meds) for high blood pressure.

    Best wishes

  • Kittenwhiskers, I had a cat with hyperthyroid. Applied the medication as a paste rubbed into her ears. I waited too long and her thyroid levels just kept getting sky higher and higher. She was 18.5 years old and I had to have her euthanized. She was not reponding to the medication at all. And she was too old to get radioactive iodine treatment which since your cat is 20 years old, probably won't be a candidate either. I had to give her med for her heart too.

  • Hello Gabkad,

    So sorry to hear that, such a hard decision. Josie's sister had hyperthyroidism but it wasn't picked up til it was to late (something I deeply regret and feel so bad about)

    Your cat was a really good age to : >

  • weird that dogs become hypo and cats become hyper.

  • We have a cat who the vet has suspected has hypo, overweight, fatigued and has heart problems. I'm so tempted to give her a little NDT every day

  • Good afternoon Spanglysplash,

    Do you mean your medication? I did ask the vet if the medication was similar to Human medication and he said it wasn't - which in many ways is a bit of a relief

    Best wishes

  • My boy was diagnosed last month and is on felimazole. We've just doubled the dose to 10mg a day as he was not responding to 5mg. Symptoms are classic; weight loss, anxiety, stary eyes and a goitre.

    The vet tested TT4 only and said that was enough. He also didn't do a blood test this week because he said the clinical presentation told him all he needed to know!

    I am being pressed to consider surgery, but the thyroid gland in a cat is actually two separate glands rather than two lobes like in a human, and they like to remove them separately, so this would mean two GAs and I don't know whether I should put a 17 year old cat through that. I'm very torn at the moment.

  • Not surprised you're torn. It is very difficult. Our poor old cat was 19 and a half when we had to have him euthanised earlier this year. He reached the stage where you could see that no matter how much he wanted to, he just couldn't make the effort for his 'people'. It was very sad and it's probably mean to say but I've had some fairly close relatives whose deaths have affected me less than those of my cats.

    I like the idea of something you rub on and they kick off. I used to try putting pills in something really tasty but he (and previous cats) could manage to eat right round them and leave the pill in the bowl. I once brought him French cat food as a 'home from holiday' gift for him - well he was one of the family, and yes he got Christmas presents too, anyway French cat food has vegetables in it. I used to put it out for him and come back to discover that he had eaten round the peas or carrots or whatever veg was in it. I wouldn't have thought it was possible but he managed to do it. Crafty cat.

    Anyway, hope you get sorted out with your kitty.😺

  • Hello Ansteynomad,

    Have you discussed your concerns with your vet? maybe he just needs a little longer for the medication to kick in, or maybe a different one.

    Best wishes

  • Our vet would not operate on a 17year old he said the op was only suitable for younger, fitter cats.

    Its not always necessary to take both out, cost wise I'm hoping one side will be enough !

  • I understand that fish is not recommended for hyperthyroid cats.

  • Luckily he takes his tablets like a man, otherwise it would be a complete nightmare.

  • Hello Kitten-whiskers, and well done for having a 20 year old cat. You must give her thyroid meds if she's hyper or she will suffer horribly and quite possibly have a fatal heart attack. I had two hyper kitties, and both were easily diagnosed by the vets feeling their thyroids .... though of course they wanted the dreaded blood tests to confirm what they knew (or just to take more money off us).

    I took one of mine to a homeopathic vet who was wonderful and the remedies did help - but she couldn't get her off the felimazole. (She also treated me effectively, though not for thyroid!). I'm pleased to hear felimazole's still around as it worked really well and was easy to use - we had a small pestle and mortar kept specially for kitty meds, crushed it up and popped it on a tiny dish with a mouthful of food and it was gone.

    Then the vet told us felimazole was not being used any more and we had to have these other tablets, can't recall the name now, but they were impossible - and more expensive. We weren't allowed to crush them and the cats always found and left them whatever food we put them in. And they were very distressed by pill poppers, effective though they were, they are not a long term solution. In the end, we did crush them, there was no alternative.

    Please get your kitty treated - I left both of mine too long through ignorance and just hope they didn't suffer too much before they had the medication.

  • Hello Dina7,

    Thank you for your advice, I certainly will have the blood tests done and medication, if required. She has Kidney problems - so has Ipakine powder for that, which was ok, her new blood pressure tablets have been much harder to give her - she is no fool.

    It was only mentioned yesterday about they thyroid, he also wanted to test liver and kidney function to. I have an appointment in just under a couple of weeks time and will have it done then.

    Best wishes

  • Hi, I had a hyperthyroid cat, diagnosed when she was 13. Nightmare to give tablets too - you couldn't hide them! She had the operation and lived until she was 23. Shea was a lovely cat. Can't remember the testing though.

  • Hello bluedragon,

    23 thats a fantastic age. Josie is to old now for an operation but hopefully the medication will be effective. I bet Shea was lovely : >

    Best wishes

  • Hi, my male cat was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in April last year. He'd always been a really large cat and quite suddenly he was wasting away in spite of always eating. He was also became very aggressive with other cats.

    Thyroid tablets are available in two strengths. He has regular blood tests and his dose varies between the lighter strength, the heavier strength and a combination of the two.

    I have had no problems what so ever getting him to take his daily tablet - which has to be taken whole.

    I bury it in a small amount of Gourmet Gold Senior pate. Its become a habit for him and he comes up to me every evening and asks for his pill.

    It is expensive at just over £30 for 30 day supply. But we are happy to see him well again.

    I hope this helps. Incidentally we did look into cheaper sources but as a vet's certificate is required and this is about £10 not much can be saved.

  • Hello Dizzy864,

    your reply has helped alot - when the vet mentioned Thyroid meds I just panicked, but i have now been reassured by the replys on here - making it a lot easier for me to make the right choice.

    The prices are extortionate - Josie has Ipakine powder for her Kidneys, nearly £50.00, two different types of blood pressure tablets costing around - £60.00 for a months supply of each tablet and her lactilose - for helping her go for a number 2 which is about £14.00 a month. She also has acunpunture once a month and that is £30.00.

    Josie has cost nothing much in vet bill most of her life but she is making up for it now and then the cost of the tests - goodness me and the special food, I do love her and want to keep her healthy and happy for as long as i can : >

    Best wishes

  • I am so impressed with your cat’s age!

    My cat was diagnosed with “thyroid problems” (long before I was, so didn’t know anything about hypo/hyper), I think he was probably around 10 years old. He had his thyroid removed but was never given any medication. Knowing what I do now, I assume that he probably should have been – but he lived several more years and didn’t appear to have any obvious problems, but he did end up with diabetes and kidney problems. I think it is a hard decision to have to think about when your cat is so much older though.

  • Hello BeansMummy,

    Thank you, I am quite chufted with her age, our vet was so kind that on her 20th Birthday he sent her a birthday card - addressed to the birthday cat - I thought that was so thoughtful, he even remembered the date - little things like that goes a long way.

    Life seems full of hard decisions but I think while she is still happy I will do whatever I can to prolong her life, as old as she is, she can still put up a fight with the vet, if he does something she doesn't like : >

    Best wishes

  • sorry to hear about your cats possible Hyperthyroid issue.

    I'm sure that you have had lots of good advice here but in case its of any help I'll just relate my recent experience with my cat Peanut.

    Peanut was diagnosed Hyper when he was 14 and our vet recommended surgery to remove part of his thyroid. I was naturally very reluctant but it seemed at the time the only practical alternative so Peanut had the surgery.

    Before the surgery Peanut had lost a huge amount of weight and his appetite was significantly reduced. He stopped eating biscuit altogether and his weight was barely 3 kg before the op. He had lost all his muscle in his back legs and couldn't jump or climb anymore.

    There is a radioactive iodine treatment available but because its dangerous the cat would have to spend weeks in a hospital .The nearest hospital was in another County and I couldn't put poor Peanut through that away from me.

    After the surgery Peanut made a good recovery put on some weight and grew a huge mane ? he was a changed cat but a year later all the old symptoms returned.

    The Vet recommended more surgery to remove the remaining thyroid tissue or daily treatment with Vidalta or similar.

    The problem with Vidalta is there are some pretty unpleasant side effects and it can takes weeks before a cat gets used to it. Peanut went completely off his food and lost even more weight. He vomited every day for a week and scratched his face and temples until they bled . I stopped the treatment after the first week.

    I then decided to try Peanut on half a tablet of vidalta a day and give him the finest nutrition and lots of love which we did for his final year.

    You should be aware that Hyperthyroidism in cats can mask an underlying kidney condition and possibly heart issues too.

    You may find this video helpful

  • Hello Johnnyxs,

    Thank you for sharing you story, I really do appreciate it, I hope i didn't bring back horrible memories for you buy posting this question - I am really sorry if i did, he was such a lovely cat, so hansome, it's hard when such horrible things happen to our furry friends.

    You made an excellent point about all the rubbish in the shop foods, loads of horrible stuff including ash and only around 4 % meat or fish. I do not buy shop food but buy rather expensive food for Josie - normally 70 percent meat/fish or suitable for human consumption - but it does cost an arm and a leg, and of course that fact that Josie is a real glutton.

    The vet did mention Vildata when i started quizzing him over the medication, he said that brand made lots of cats sick, so he changed it.

    It does still lingeres at the back of my mind about my dreadful experiences but I will pay attention to any changes in her and give her extra cuddles and treats, she still loves her tummy being rubbed.

    I must say I never thought of giving her an egg yolk - I will have to try that, it will be an absolute nightmare if the tablet has to be swollowed whole. She does have kidney problems which she has Ipakine for.

    Thank you so much for sharing

    Best wishes

  • you're very welcome kitten whiskas. I am glad that there was something useful in there. Its so difficult to discuss something like this with a few typed words.

    it sounds to me like you are doing everything possible for Josie who is a very lucky cat .

    I found the easiest way to give Peanut his tablet was to make 3-4 very small pellets of cheese (his favourite treat) and put the pill inside the cheese ball so that it is completely covered in cheese.

    I gave him the first cheese ball with nothing in it then the second cheese ball contained the pill.

    Most times he swallowed the cheese ball whole and was unaware he had eaten a pill.

    If you try egg yolk you might find it easier to fry the egg and scoop hot fat over the top when the white is cooked and the yolk is still liquid. Then its easy to scrape the hot yolk out onto a cold dish and mix a crushed tablet into the yolk. leave it a minute or so until its just warm but still runny.

    Egg yolk is a great food to encourage cats to eat and is probably the most nutritionally rich food there is.

    kind regards


  • Thank you Johnny, what great ideas to get the pills in, Josie loves cheese, I always used diarylea but she wised up to it and would lick around the tablet, I will try her with normal cheese : >

    Peanut was very lucky - what a lovely little kitty.

    I will try her with the egg yolk to, I do remember not long ago on the news, there was a cat that was well into its twenties and the owner did say that she gave her kitty an egg yolk for breakfast every day and that is a reason why she though the cat was doing so well, I think it will help Josie's fur no end.

    Thank you ever so much johnny

    Best wishes


  • you're very welcome Debs . I hope Josie feels a lot better soon. The great thing about foods like Egg yolk and tinned salmon is they have such a huge range of good nutrition and can often kick-start a cat to eat something when they are losing weight and not interested in eating anything you put in front of them.

    Cats are unlike other animals in that their liver cannot process large amounts of body fat when they are off their food . It doesn't take more than two weeks or so of not eating before cats go into a condition called Hepatic Lipidosis where the liver is so badly damaged from processing all that body fat that it starts to fail along with the pancreas , gall bladder ,kidneys and gi tract its called Triaditis .

    My last cat Boo died of it back in March this year. She went from a strong healthy bouncy cat weighing 7Kg to being put to sleep in just 20 days ! weighing just 4Kg

    Processing 3Kg of body fat did the damage. Its hard to accept when you see dogs and horses starved for months and months and still survive and recover.

    This is why it is critical that cats losing lots of weight and off their food are encouraged to eat something anything ...even human food .

  • Hello Johnny, so sorry to hear of your lose, poor Boo, I hope I get spared the ordeal of having to put an animal to sleep, I don't think I could handle it. That is very helpful information that I wasn't aware of. Josie has lost weight - she was always around the 4. 5kg mark and now is just under 3. 5kg and this has happened over the last month or so. I will keep a close eye on her. Thank you so much. Best wishes Debs

  • thats quite a large weight loss in such a short time period nearly 25% bodyweight Cats do lose weight periodically for various reasons but considering Josie's age It would probably be good to try and tempt her to eat little and often .

    I would try cheap tinned Salmon in brine rather than Tuna as Tuna is rather salty .Also an egg yolk every other day perhaps. Lightly poached chicken occasionally is usually popular and we often pull some small moist pieces off the underside of our roast chicken to give to the cats.

    kind regards


  • Thank you Johnny, lots of useful info, I really appreciate it.

    Thankfully she is eating more, but not back to her normal amount yet.

    She goes to the vet regularly for her acupuncture and he always weighs her, so fingers crossed she has put some weight on. I must admit I was worried - this is the smallest she has ever been, I did try the egg yolk but she wasn't impressed : > but I will persist

    Best wishes


  • Hi our cat of 15 years developed a swollen thyroid . The vet said it might cause behaviour problems and he might become bad tempered. Had fun and games getting the pills into him but he stopped biting people and started sitting on people's laps for the first time in his life! Unfortunately he had many other health issues so he is no longer with us. Have you asked the vet what would happen if you didn't treat her?

  • Hello Kath,

    Sorry to hear your cat is no longer here. I have not asked the vet to be honest, their has been a set of symptoms that have caused concern - she has lost most of her sight, her high pulse, losing weight, high pulse, and needing medication to help her go for a number 2 the blood pressure medication has not worked.

    She had being doing so well, only having treatment for kidneys and arthiritus and then all of a sudden these symptoms have creeped in.

    Running in the back of my mind when he was talking about the thyroid was my own dreadful experiences with Thyroid medications and of course - is it near the end for her. I took it really hard when her sister went to heaven and four years on it still upsets me, I always felt responsible because I didn't realise she was ill until it was too late, in Josies case it is differen't because I have and will do everything possible for her - but within a little, I know I will have to say goodbye soon.

    Best wishes

  • Hiya

    My cat got this at 17. The vet cut half (not all) his thyroid out and he was great for another 4 years until he got cancer. If your cat can do the op it is easier if your cat, like mine, was difficult to drug. They do cat size tablets that are about the size of a grain of rice and these are easier to get down them if you decide to keep with the drugs

    The sad thing was that when he got ill I initially thought that he was entering a second childhood as he suddenly had all this energy and was running around acting mad (before hyper he did a fair impression of a cushion!)

    Good luck

  • Hello TupennyRush,

    Thank you for sharing your information, sorry your cat had a horrible time of it in the end, sounds like he had a great and long life with you.

    Josie is to old for an op, the vet said unless in was an emergency he wouldn't consider it.

    The biggest concern was the medication but people say it isn't the same problem for cats as it is for us.

    Thank you

    Best wishes

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