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  1. #1
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    Default Update post #10 -- Now, I don't know what to do. (hyperthyroid cat)

    Ultimately, I realize that this is going to be my decision, but, I'm worried, and, frankly, scared, and I could use advice from those cat people who are more knowledgeable than I am.

    I have a 13 year old cat with a heart murmur. She is my heart cat. I've posted about her before. She's hyperthyroid and I had made the decision to take her to Cornell to have radiation treatment. My vet told me she would have to be there three to four days. The office just made the appointment, and now they are saying five to seven days.

    The problem is that this cat is extremely timid. I'm the only one who ever sees her. If anyone comes to the house, she hides under the bed. Even the pet sitters don't see her. When I go away, I have to leave a continuous feeder out for her and my other old cat and shut them upstairs, while my two young cats are downstairs, and being fed normally, because, otherwise, she wouldn't come out of hiding to eat.

    When I take her for her annual vet checkup, she is so scared that she is literally petrified. I just plain don't know how she would cope with being in a big, noisy place filled with strange people and animals. I'm afraid that I wouldn't have a cat to pick up, because she would literally fret herself to death, especially if it's going to be that long, and with that heart murmur.

    So, the question is, should I take her, or should I just keep her on the medication for the rest of her life? Now, I don't know, I just don't know. I'm leaning towards the medication, because my heart would break if anything happened to her while she was at Cornell. But, am I being ridiculous about how she would cope with the experience?
    Last edited by Louise; Oct. 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM.
    Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
    Kennedy



  2. #2
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    Feb. 16, 2012
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    Could you see if they could give her a mild sedative while she's there? If not...I personally would not put her through it...I lost my "heart" puppy at 11 months old at the vet because he was so scared and timid...



  3. #3

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    I would not subject her to this. No one knows her like you do and stress can indeed be a killer, especially with a heart murmur.

    Why not first try her with the medication and see how she does.

    Best of luck to you. Your kitty is lucky to have a "mom" who loves her so much!



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysterymouse View Post

    Why not first try her with the medication and see how she does.

    Best of luck to you. Your kitty is lucky to have a "mom" who loves her so much!
    The difference between the medication and the treatment is that the meds don't cure, they simply treat. The long-term usage of the medication has some side affects, which can be an issue for a younger cat, like the OP's. (You know all this of course, OP.)

    Louise- This is exactly why we didn't try the treatment with my cat....aside from the fact that he was 17 when first diagnosed, he is MISERABLE at the vet and a real homebody. He's the sort of cat who you see in a ROOM of the house, because he doesn't venture beyond the door way. He's a crotchedy old man who loves just me, out of all the members of the household. And he didn't even really like me until he realized he got wet food every time I shoved a pill down his throat.

    It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons of sending her off....like you said, you may not have a cat by the end of it, and a cat off their food goes downhill quickly. But at the same time...getting her the radiation can extend her life most likely way beyond what the methimazole(sp?) will....and she'll be cured, not just treated. Talk to your regular vet about putting her on an anti-anxiety pill. And talk to the vets about Cornell about their plan if she starts going downhill due to stress. And then, with all that info, make your decision.

    I'm sorry, it really sucks to have a sick kitty. For what it's worth, my guy has been on the largest dose of methimazole that my vet feels comfortable with to keep his levels in check for over a year now, and is still a lovely little fat happy-in-his-grumpy-way kitty.



  5. #5
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    Facilites which treat hyperthyroid cats usually have things set up to minimize stress. You might ask for a box or something to be put in the cage to allow the cat to hide.

    The heart murmur may be due in whole or in part to the hyperthyroidism.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  6. #6
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    It is fairly common for cats to be scared in new environments, we see it all the time. This university treats cats frequently, and likely has a quiet cat room where they can provide her with a hiding box to make her feel more safe.

    Either way, its up to you whichever you choose. If it helps your decision, maybe you can ask to speak with the Cornell technicians to see what they offer for the fradiecats



  7. #7
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Thanks everyone. I really want her to live a good, long and healthy life. That's why I originally didn't hesitate when told about the radiation therapy. I'm taking another cat in on Thursday for her yearly checkup, and I'll have a good, long talk with my vet about this. Contacting Cornell is also an excellent idea and I will certainly do that. I didn't realize that most of these facilities had procedures in place for these scardy cats.

    Now, if I can only get my stomach from doing flip-flops.
    Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
    Kennedy



  8. #8
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    Spike has been on the methimazol for over two years now and she's 14. Her heart murmur is severe so we won't risk anesthesia.

    good luck with whatever you decide.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
    It is fairly common for cats to be scared in new environments, we see it all the time. This university treats cats frequently, and likely has a quiet cat room where they can provide her with a hiding box to make her feel more safe.

    Either way, its up to you whichever you choose. If it helps your decision, maybe you can ask to speak with the Cornell technicians to see what they offer for the fradiecats
    X2. Talk to them, talk to the vet, express your concerns to the people who will handle her. They cannot help you if you do not talk to them.



  10. #10
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    An update on my hyperthyroid cat. I decided, eventually, to go through with the radiation therapy. She went to Cornell yesterday to stay for a week.

    The poor little thing is terrified, as I expected. So far, she's not eating or drinking. The folks at Cornell are being wonderful. She's been there about 24 hours, and they have already called me twice, to update. They have assured me that they are monitoring her very closely and will take steps to hydrate her and take steps to assure she received the nutrition necessary to avoid liver damage, if it proves necessary.

    Preliminary testing shows typical hyperthyroid problems. Her goiter is enlarged, she has thickening of the muscle on one side of the heart, potassium is on the low side, etc. Hopefully, all that, including the heart thing, will be resolved when her thyroid levels are back to normal.

    I'm impressed with Cornell so far, though, truthfully, I'm still a nervous wreck. They even went so far as to ask me, this morning, about how much L-lysine she gets for her dry eye, as that condition can sometimes flare up during treatment. I had told them I was giving her that, but I never even thought about bringing some down with me, for them to give while she is there.

    I'm so nervous that I binge ate all day yesterday. After losing 82 pounds, that's not good. So, jingles, most of all for little Becky, but, if you can spare a few, jingles for me to get back on my healthy diet while Becky is away from me.
    Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
    Kennedy



  11. #11
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    Aww Louise...hang in there. You and Becky will get through this.

    The medication works well, but the radiation is supposed to be far superior.

    She might be scared...but most likely as she gets more used to the new, scary place some of her fear will ease. They will make sure her fear doesn't harm her. And as sucky as it is...once it's over you two are set!

    And good on you for the weight loss...you've been doing great. Don't sweat a single binge day. Just ignore that it happened and go back to regular healthy eating and your body will regulate that. The extra binge pounds will go down quite a bit after 48 hours.

    Best of luck and keep us updated?
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  12. #12
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    MOST of the hyperthyroid cats we treated did not eat for the first 24-36 hours. for the really scardy cats we would actually put their food in their hiding box with them, so they did not have to come out to eat. What really seemed to help them relaxing is to spend time in with the social cats, but not trying to actually interacting with the nervous ones. They really do adjust quite well considering.

    Try to relax as best you can, we treated thousands of hyperthyroid cats and we never lost one or had one go downhill due to stress. the only ones who have had serious issues were cats who were a risk for any treatment do to other health issues, like severe kidney disease, or emaciated due to going to long untreated.
    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!



  13. #13
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    My thyroid cat lived on the meds till she was 26. She actually loved the stuff and came to tell me 2xday when it was time for her dose.

    I'm sure by the time Becky gets home, she'll be a robust and cheerful little girl. No worries...Drink water, eat fruit, her time away is almost done!
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  14. #14
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    If it's physically close enough, talk to Cornell about daily visits to feed her,sit with her, etc - some cats do very well with this, some not so much; you can also exlore bringing her home at night (I expect that Cornell has sufficient staff at night but a surprising # of clinics have minimal or even no night staff).

    Jingles for you & kitty!



  15. #15
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Thanks alto, I'm 2 1/2 hours away, so that wouldn't be possible. Plus, her radiation levels are too high for five days after treatment for her to be allowed out of the treatment room. During that time, only the vet and one technician are allowed in the room. So I just have to close my eyes and hope that these next few days go by very quickly. Believe me, I have tons of stuff booked during that time, to keep myself busy and my mind off of Becky as much as possible.
    Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
    Kennedy



  16. #16
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    Good for you for sending her for treatment! Must be hard, but you are certainly giving her a good chance at a good quality long life. A few weeks is a short time in comparison to how much time you are buying her

    Cornell is simply wonderful. Sounds like your cat is getting top notch care and monitoring. Cats dont like to eat in hospital (well most cats...mine will eat anything including the blankets), and the techs are trained to monitor this closely. Most cats will hunger strike for a few days. Past this,its important that they do have some enteral nutrition and there are non-stressful ways of making this happen. They sure sound on top of this. Drink some more wine,relax and count down the days until your radioactive kid comes home



  17. #17
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    Cornell is excellent and Miss Becky is in great hands with them. Sending you hugs and hope that the time passes quickly enough while she is up there.



  18. #18
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    Default Jingles for you and Becky

    Please let us know how this goes. 20 years ago I took a kitty to TX A&M for this and while the thyroid problem went away, she came home with bone cancer. She only managed 6 weeks before she was unable to eat on her own. I am told this is rare, but it did change my tendency to "overtreat" pets. I would never do it again. She was perfectly happy, no heart issues, just thin. I should have left her alone.
    Last week the little feral cat that lives with me (is that a Deral Cat - domesticated feral?) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism but we are going to try a transdermal gel the vet's pharmacy is compounding. That was not an option 20 years ago.



  19. #19
    Louise is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Becky comes home tomorrow. Everything has gone well and, hopefully, the condition will be totally cured.

    HiddenAcres, I'm so sorry about your cat. Maybe there have been advances made in the last 20 years, because the consequences that your cat faced were not even mentioned. And, believe me, Cornell spent a lot of time going over what could happen, likely or not. Becky also underwent two days of rigorous testing before treatment to assure that she didn't have any other kind of disease. They wanted to make sure that she had the best possible chance, and that I wasn't spending money on a cat whose potential for a long, healthy life was not there.

    I can't wait until she's home again. I have her quarantine room all set up, with everything she could possibly need, including a comfy chair for me so I can spend lots of time in there with her. I'm still not sure how long she will have to be quarantined, but I'll find out tomorrow. I'm planning on the worst case scenerio -- three weeks -- so I'm not shocked by what they tell me.

    I boiled a chicken breast today and there's tuna and salmon, and two different kinds of cat food that isn't first rank, but that she has shown in the past that she just loves. I'm not sure how much of a problem eating will be, once she's home, but I want to be prepared.

    I can't pick her up until 1 PM. Believe me, I'd be there at 5 AM, if they'd let me!
    Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past - let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
    Kennedy



  20. #20
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    Sounds good!
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



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