Do you have a cat with hyperthyroidism? Until now, we have had two treatments we could use for these cats:
But now there is a new treatment that is causing quite an excitement amongst veterinarians. Hill's has produced a food called y/d which they believe is an excellent treatment for hyperthyroidism. (Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with Hill's).
My first thought was that they had made a food medicated with methimazole. I was wondering how this was going to work though as there would be issues with cats potentially getting too much medication. But I was wrong!
There is no medication in the food! Instead, the food is iodine reduced. The reason that this works is that the thyroid gland needs iodine in order to make thyroid hormone. So, if very little iodine is supplied, then the cat can't over produce thyroid hormone.
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According to Hill's, every hyperthyroid cat that they put on y/d returned to normal thyroid levels. Most were improving within 3 weeks. Some took a few weeks longer to return to normal. If these studies are valid (which they likely are) then feeding y/d may be just as good as giving medication.
No. If your cat eats other food or treats then they will be getting a normal level of iodine and then the enlarged thyroid gland will be able to overproduce thyroid hormone again.
So far in Hill's studies of up to 2 years, they have not found any negative consequences of feeding an iodine reduced diet to normal cats. In fact, some people believe that all cats should be fed a reduced iodine diet. It's possible that the recommendation for iodine levels in cat food is actually too high.
Hill's y/d will become available in the fall of 2011. It is only available through your veterinarian.
I'm really excited about this new food! But I'm also cautiously optimistic. While the studies that Hill's have done are impressive, they're not extremely large. I'll feel much more comfortable prescribing y/d when the food has been out for a while and we see if there are any side effects.
With that being said, I'm still going to offer this choice to my clients with newly diagnosed hyperthyroid cats. I'll discuss all of their options and let them know that with pills or radio-iodine therapy I'm really comfortable with advising owners how to treat. While I recognize that feeding a special food is way more convenient than giving medication, I need to advise my clients that if they choose the food they're venturing into "experimental" territory.
Once I have some experience with using this food for cats with hyperthyroidism I'll let you know!
Dr. Marie was quick to respond and thorough in suggesting treatment for my cat. I am so thankful- I have been so worried about my cat. Now I have additional options to discuss with my vet.
The service was incredibly fast and the vet's suggestions were right on target. This was incredibly helpful given that none of the vets in my area, mine now included, will take off hours calls now.