Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:46 AM

Treatment of Feline Hyperthyroidism

As you may have noticed, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are the same or similar to those of other serious diseases that affect older cats, namely, kidney failure and diabetes. Since it is very important that you know what you are dealing with, the first order of business is to take your cat to your holistic veterinarian for a thorough checkup. It will be expensive, since blood work will be needed to diagnose the problem, but it is a necessary step. The information you discover from this initial visit will help you to decide which course of treatment to pursue.

Standard veterinary protocol offers several treatments for hyperthyroidism (it should be noted that these are essentially the same as those offered to human sufferers by their doctors). A drug that inhibits the production of thyroxin by the thyroid gland is often prescribed first. The most commonly prescribed, Tapazol (generic: methmazole) can cause side effects such as vomiting and loss of appetite, however, which could prove lethal to a cat already in a weakened state. Surgery to remove the gland will mean that the animal must take synthetic thyroxin for the rest of its life, which entails constant monitoring and adjustment of the dose. The third option is the nastiest: The animal receives a dose of radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland. This results in a radioactive animal (for a period of time, at least) that is a threat to everyone around it, and whose waste materials must be disposed of according to federal guidelines. This treatment, amazingly, is recommended more often than one would think!

As Dr. Pitcairn points out, however, destroying the thyroid gland only takes care of part of the problem. The underlying issue, a malfunctioning immune system, has not been addressed. Most likely, too, it will not be. Owners want to relieve their pet's suffering, so they accept one of these treatments and hope for the best. It is possible, of course, that an immune system so debilitated by years of unnecessary vaccinations may be permanently weakened. In the case of food allergies, however, nutritional therapy could very well save the day. As a matter of fact, it will serve to support the entire animal's being, including an immune system once thought to be beyond help.

Therefore, it won't surprise you to know that tomorrow's post will address alternative therapies for this disease, as well as prevention. Can you guess what the primary treatment will consist of? Tune in tomorrow to see if you are correct!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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