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If you need us for an urgent enquiry of an emergency just call, we answer the phone 24 hours a day (01235) 524 777. Emergencies in the night are seen at our Abingdon Veterinary Surgery. Please note we have a reduced staffing level at night so we would kindly ask that for routine enquiries and appointments you call during our main opening hours.
Last time we found out that our friend Pudding had been diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism - but what does that mean and what are our treatment options?
Feline hyperthyroidism effects around 21% of our feline friends - which makes it one of the most common diseases in middle-older aged cats. The majority of these cases (95%) are caused by a non-cancerous type of tumour affecting the thyroid gland. The exact cause of these tumours is not known but the end result is the production of too much thyroid hormone.
Nearly all organs are affected by thyroid hormones and that is why we can see an array of clinical signs in our patients. These signs can be quite subtle at first, like those seen in our friend Pudding, but as the disease progresses they can become quite severe. The most common clinical signs we see are increased appetite, weight loss, and increased drinking and urination. Some cats may also show signs of vomiting and diarrhoea, hyperactivity, as well as their coat becoming dull and greasy. It is quite common for owners to report ravenous appetites but weight loss, and that their cat has been slightly irritable or more vocal.
There are four treatment options available to us for feline hyperthyroidism but not every treatment is ideal for every patient. We need to treat each patient as an individual and find which option works best for your cat. Our four options are daily medication (tablets or cream), surgery to remove the thyroid gland, radioactive iodine therapy, or dietary therapy. As you can appreciate, not all cats are easy to give tablets, while others will not tolerate a change in diet or live in multi-cat households, and some are not good anaesthetic candidates for surgery - this is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment option.
Like many owners, Pudding’s mum decided to start her on the twice daily tablets. Pudding had always been a good eater and not fussy with her food so she happily accepted tablets hidden in a treat. When we start our patients on thyroid medication, a repeat blood test is always performed 3-4 weeks later to ensure the dose is correct. Sometimes it can take a couple of dose changes to get the thyroid levels correct but luckily for Pudding her levels were back within normal after this initial 3-4-week period. Her appetite had reduced back to normal and she had started to gain some weight again.
Now for some owners, giving medications twice a day at the same time is not always possible. Sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes it is simply that your cat won’t tolerate having tablets. Knowing that Pudding would require the thyroid medication twice a day for the rest of her life (potentially 10 + years), Pudding’s owners decided to take Pudding for radioactive iodine treatment.
In our next installment we will explain what radioactive iodine treatment is, how it works, and let you know if your cat will glow in the dark afterwards!
We are fortunate at Abivale Vets to have an amazing team of committed, talented and enthusuastic staff.
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality veterinary services for you and your pets, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.