What is Hyperthyroidism?
This is a common disease of older cats. The thyroid gland is located in the neck just below the throat. It makes a hormone that affects your cat’s whole body. It is comparable to the gas supply for a car and this hormone gives your cat ‘get up and go’ and stimulates the entire metabolism. Often, older cats develop a benign tumour of this gland that is harmless except it secrets too much of this hormone. The excess levels of the hormone causes the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism which include weight loss, personality change, heart murmur, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and more.
What Can you do about this disease?
Your cat will need to start on a medication called Tapazole which will stop the thyroid gland from making excessive thyroid hormone. After your cat is treated with Tapazole, he/she will need to be monitored with regular blood and urine tests. This is to ensure that he/she is properly regulated and that there are no side effects to the liver and bone marrow. Also, the kidney function needs to be closely monitored.
If your cat has no kidney problems after being on the medicine for 8 weeks then your cat can have Radioactive Iodine treatment. This treatment can potentially provide a permanent solution. Then your cat will not require daily medication and repeated blood profiles.
There is now a new food that is available called Y/D which can treat hyperthyroidsim. If your cat will eat this food exclusively (which comes in a canned and dry version) he/she does not need Tapazole or Radioactive treatment. If your cat is already on Tapazole, you can gradually transition him/her off the Tapazole. However, your cats’ thyroid levels will still need to be monitored with blood tests.
Are there any side effects to the Tapazole medicine?
Yes there are. They occur in a small number of cats. The side effects are:
- Not eating or eating less
- Dull or depressed
- Itchy face
Call Us Immediately & Stop The Medication If You Notice Any Of These Reactions.
Some cats receiving Tapazole get problems with their liver, kidneys or blood cells. This is why it is important that we repeat blood and urine tests on cats while they are on Tapazole.
Is Tapazole hard to give to most cats?
It is usually not a problem since Tapazole comes in many different forms of administration. We just have to find what works best for you and your cat. Tapazole comes in pill form, a flavoured liquid, a chewable tablet or a transdermal cream that you just apply to the skin of the inner portion of the ear.