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Pill vs. Transdermal Methimazole for Older Kitty

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    Pill vs. Transdermal Methimazole for Older Kitty

    Looking for some advice. My 15 year old special sassy kitty was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We started her on one 2.5mg Methimazole pill every twelve hours, and it went surprisingly well for the first three weeks. She ate her pill wrapped in a pill pocket without even blinking an eye. My husband and I thought we got off easy...wrong! Somehow she caught on to us, and has gotten much harder to convince with the pill pocket treats. We’ve had to resort to just putting the pill in her mouth a few times, which isn’t horrible, but not ideal. Our concern is being able to ever leave town again. We have wonderful family to take care of her, but she is “special”, and will only tolerate the two humans she thinks are worthy of her presence (myself and my husband). Does anyone have A. Tips for giving finicky kitties pills? B. Experience with the transdermal form of this medication? I’m not sure this would be any easier on my in-laws, but figured it was worth exploring as an option!

    Does she like temptation treats? The mega stuffed I can split in half and cram the pill in there. Or at least I could for a month or two before he wised up. Lol

    It might last them long enough. I've read of people grinding it up and putting it in food too.


      I have used both forms and the transdermal was much easier on cat and human.


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by cayuse View Post
        I have used both forms and the transdermal was much easier on cat and human.
        cayuse is it a quick process to apply? I’m most concerned about her tolerating being handled by someone other than me for any length of time.


          I've used both the pill and transdermal methimazole. Transdermal was easier to apply, but you're supposed to wear gloves to avoid contaminating your skin. As it turned out, my cat couldn't tolerate methimazole in any form--it made her very sick. I opted to have her treated with radioactive iodine, and it's one of the best decisions I ever made with a cat. She was completely cured of hyperthyroidism, and I never had to do anything about it again. No more pills, no more blood tests to monitor the dose, no more sick cat. If radioactive iodine is an option for you, I highly recommend it if your cat is a good candidate. It's expensive up front, but over time it's cheaper than methimazole because you have to keep buying the drug and taking the cat to the vet for lab tests to monitor her response. I figured the break even point where I live was about 2 years. If you're cat is otherwise reasonably healthy, this might be a good option.


            Mine was eating his with pill pockets for about a year before he stopped. I started putting the pill in his mouth and while he objected at first, he has figured out how to swallow them.

            Most of my cats have learned to swallow pills, so i would just continue on until the cat learns to take his pill. As a reward they get fed afterwards. Perhaps my cats are just smart, but 4/5 are good about taking meds. I have one who might chomp on your fingers, but she takes pill pockets so it hasn't been a problem.


              FWIW, my vet was 100% unwilling to prescribe transdermal methimazole because of the risk of transfer to me. It's not just a risk when you're actually applying the drug--it's also a risk when you're petting or cuddling your cat. You really don't want to screw with your thyroid

              Most cats can get used to pilling, particularly if the pill doesn't taste bad. I always cover pills with a small piece of pill pocket to help them slide down easier.


                I just scruff and pill; catching my cat is harder than dosing. I am interested in the radioactive shot down the road--but need to see how the pills work first, as it's about a 3 hour drive for me to get to the nearest clinic the does the radioactive shot.


                  If your kitty's kidneys are stable I would highly recommend doing the I-131 but that said, I found doing the transdermal to be a lot easier and less stressful for my old kitty man Eggie. He used to have GI issues when he was taking the pill form and tolerated the transdermal much better. Unlike most hyperT kitties, Eggie's appetite was reduced so anything to keep him feeling better and eating was critical.


                    Originally posted by WoodsRun View Post
                    cayuse is it a quick process to apply? I’m most concerned about her tolerating being handled by someone other than me for any length of time.
                    Yes, you need to wear gloves so you don't absorb the med but if you have everything ready it only takes a second to do. We were able to just pat the cat and apply quickly to his ear. Never seemed to bother him and much easier than holding him and trying to "pill" him.


                      My older cat started Methimazole late last December and she is doing fine with pilling. She doesn’t object much at all to a quick scruff and shoot the pill to the back of her mouth. I don’t even have to chase her down. I use a pill shooter. She will not eat treats at all. She doesn’t even eat cat food that well (that existed pre-methimazole). She is doing fine with this regimen (T4 back in normal range) so we will continue. I can’t get I-131 done here and would have to go out of state so pills it is.


                        Transdermal methimazole is only absorbed by about half of cats. The pills or I-131 are the way to go.


                          My vet was against the transdermal because it's not reliable--it may not all be absorbed, and the dose is not as consistent. I used the pills, and they were super easy to deal with. My two that needed it (both gone now from unrelated issues) ate it with no problem in their canned food; I simply crushed it and sprinkled it on. Once we got the dose figured out, both did well on it for the rest of their days with normal thyroid levels. I'd have preferred the radioactive iodine route, but at $1500+, it was way out of my budget.