Last week I discussed the treatment options for cats with hyperthyroidism and the treatment that we chose for Cooper. We were fortunate to catch Cooper’s hyperthyroidism early enough and the treatment we could select cured him of the disease. Cooper’s hyperthyroidism had a happy ending. With that being said, I have had the opportunity of talk to others that were faced with their cat getting hyperthyroidism. I wanted to share with you the experiences others have shared and what we can learn from those experiences.
Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that I am not a veterinary healthcare professional. Your pet’s health should always be directed to your pet’s veterinarian. The health and care of Cooper and the choices made are always thoroughly discussed with Cooper’s doctor.
Although our experience with Cooper had a positive result, that has not been the case with many people and their cats with hyperthyroidism. I have talked to several people that had cats with hyperthyroidism that did not end well. One thing all of these people had in common was they loved their cats dearly and they did not neglect their cats. They just did not have the information they needed within the limited time that hyperthyroidism allowed. Without the knowledge and information, these individuals were faced with the unfortunate and tragic loss of their cats to hyperthyroidism. I will avoid going into details about their stories, but I will highlight what they told me went wrong.
Did Not Understand The Long Term Treatment Plan:
They did not know the medication was lifelong. They gave their cat the bottle of pills as prescribed for a month. They were not aware that they were to bring their cat in for a follow up visit to determine if the first month dose was working. They thought that the 1 month prescription was all their cat needed.
Did Not Know How To Apply The Medication:
They did not learn how to apply the medication correctly. This cat was hard to pill, so they had the medication compounded into a cream to rub on the inside of the cat’s ear. They thought the medication was put down the cat’s ear instead of rubbing it on the part of the ear with no hair. Essentially the medication they were diligently giving their cat was ineffective due to improper application.
Did Not Catch The Disease Quick Enough:
They did not catch the disease quick enough. Their cat had been an overall healthy cat for most of its life. They noticed their cat that was eating more, but contributed it to the cat competing for food with their younger cat. They did not notice soon enough that their cat was losing weight while consuming more food. The disease had created more health problems that could not be reversed by the time they took their cat to the vet for help.
The common thread with all three of these individuals is they did not have the information they needed quick enough. None of these individuals blamed their vet for the loss of their cat. They said they just did not know or understand. It can be hard to digest and absorb all of the necessary information when you get a call about your pet having a condition or disease. However, your veterinarian and the staff are available for questions. They may have to call you back, but I would recommend that you follow up with your vet to make sure you understand the disease and their instructions clearly.
In reference to hyperthyroidism with your cat, the basic questions I recommend to ask your cat’s doctor would be but not limit to the following:
- What treatment plan is best for my cat?
- How do I give/apply the medication to my cat?
- How often will my cat need to come in for checkups?
- Has the hyperthyroidism caused other health issues that I need to be made aware of?
- How soon should I see my cat improving (normal appetite, gaining weight back, no thyroid storms, etc.) once treatment begins?
In closing, I just want to remind you that as serious as hyperthyroidism is for cats, there are positive outcomes, such as Cooper’s story. For some cats, the disease can only be managed and not cured. As I shared with you today, the lack of information and understanding can be detrimental. However, the worst thing is doing nothing at all.
Please keep regular appointments with your cat’s veterinarian, and always agree to or ask for the additional lab work so your vet can thoroughly monitor your cat. If you think your cat may shows signs of hyperthyroidism or any other condition, please do not wait to take your cat in on their annual check up. Call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment right away.