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Cat with hyperthyroidism.

Species: Cat
Breed: Maine coon cat
Age: 5-8 years
Hi again! I spoke to you last week regarding the bad behavior of my cat. She has been pooping everywhere but the litter box.
The vet has determined she does has thyroid problems. I have not been able to get answers from my vet so I am asking you for some advice.

The situation stands that she would need blood testing several times ($120/per test) and then meds 2 times daily forever. I don't believe from what i have read that this is a definite cure for her behavior, only that it will help. I don't think it is feasible for my family situation to give this cat meds twice a day as she can be quite agressive. I am at the point where I feel that putting her down is my only alternative. This has put a tremendous guilt on me and I would like to know your professional opinion on this. I don't want to let her down however i do have my family to think of. I don't believe she will get better it will only be treating the symptoms. Is she in pain with this? What other information can you offer? I would also like some moral support if you can offer it. Thank you so much for being available in this forum. I truly appreciate an outlet to ask questions and get support. Angela

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that you are having to make this hard decision.

The one thing I am confused about here is the age of your cat. If Princess is 5-8 years old as you have stated in the form then it is really unusual to have hyperthyroidism. It may be worthwhile to get a second opinion.

However, if she is an older cat then a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is usually pretty accurate.

Unfortunately if she has hyperthyroidism she really does need to be treated. Cats can survive for a while with hyperthyroidism but eventually they feel really sick.

The increase in thyroid hormone if left untreated will cause a number of problems - weight loss, heart problems, blood pressure problems and possibly blindness. Cats that have these problems simply do not feel well.

If giving your girl pills is the main problem you can ask your vet about using a transdermal gel. This is a cream that you put on the inside of her ear. It sometimes doesn't work as well as pills, but sometimes it does. It would definitely be better than nothing.

You are mostly right in saying that there is no cure for hyperthyroidism. There is a treatment called radio-iodide where a cat can be cured of hyperthyroidism. However, this is quite expensive.

I have a large number of cats in my clinic with hyperthyroidism. Of all the conditions that older cats can get this is one that is treatable.

With all that being said, if you are unable to afford her treatment, this is understandable as well. Your vet can help you to decide when the point comes that she is really not feeling well. When that point comes it will be time to discuss euthanasia.

I'm sorry for this hard decision!

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. 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.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your reply. My trouble is also the fact that she is not using litter box to poop at all and it is not an easy clean up!!! It can't be healthy for us. she is 5 yrs old and has started losing weight. She is also becoming more agressive towards the other "furries" in the family. Catching her and giving her pills is going to be virtually impossilbe b/c of her behaviour. I am under the impression that the gel is expensive. Is it a guarantee with treatment her "pooping" behavior will stop? I am just trying to decide whether the quality of everyones lives involved will be better or is it just a way to prolong more problems down the road? I just need help making a caring decision and I am not getting any help from my own vet.

thank you again.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I don't envy you this hard decision!

There is definitely no guarantee that the pooping will stop once the thyroid problem is treated.

In my practice the gel is a little bit more expensive than the pills. But again, you would still need to catch her.

It is really unusual to see hyperthyroidism in a 5 year old cat so it may be worthwhile to have a second vet take a look at her just to confirm the diagnosis.

However, I think it is reasonable, with the information that you gave me to consider putting her down.

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

Thank you again. Your response has given me the information I was looking for. I wish you practiced here in chesterfield VA!!!!:) Thank you again. Angela

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome Angela. Thanks for the kind words.

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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.