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Blind, deaf and no sense of smell.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tabby
Age: 11-15 years
Jack was diagnosed as hyperthyroid in February and has been on methimazole since then. In the last two weeks, he has become blind, deaf, and lost his sense of smell. I took him to the vet yesterday for a consultation. Since he has very swollen gums and tartar issues, he will have his teeth cleaned tomorrow. She said his heart was strong, kidney function good, and she could not see cataracts. My question is about the loss of these senses and the possible cause or causes. Any chance of recovering the sense of smell or hearing?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that Jack is having these problems.

We can sometimes see blindness as a result of hyperthyroidism if the hyperthyroidism causes high blood pressure and the high blood pressure causes the retina at the back of the eye to detach. This is usually something that we can see on an exam of the eye. However, if Jack's hyperthyroidism has been under control with medication then this type of problem is not common.

If the blindness *is* due to a detached retina, then in some cases the vision can return if the blood pressure is brought back to normal quickly. But, quite often the blindness is permanent.

There are other causes of blindness and often it is hard to know what the cause is.

Hyperthyroidism should not cause deafness or loss of a sense of smell. Really there isn't a specific disease condition that would cause blindness, deafness and sense of smell all at once. I suppose we could make a case that a brain tumor could be doing this, but for a tumor to affect all of these senses it would have to be very widespread and I would think you'd also be seeing other symptoms like seizures and lack of appetite.

Unfortunately the only way to diagnose a brain tumor would be to have an MRI done and that usually is not in the budget for most people and is not available in all areas.

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you. I think that the dental cleaning is a good idea. It sounds like your vet is doing all of the same things that I would.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.