My cat Stella has hyperthyroidism and we can't get help.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Copabanana, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well. This is not exactly non-parenting related, because my cat is my feline child, and I her mother.

    In Feb or so Stella was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I felt horrible because I had been in denial about the changes in her I was seeing before my very eyes.

    She was spitting up.
    She was drinking way more water and eating voluminously.
    Her cat box got way dirty, way quick.
    And she got frantic. She jumped on the counter. She climbed onto high shelves. She was mad at me non-stop. She is a Siamese mix. Very, very vocal. And demanding.

    Red flags. How could I not have seen this, put it together?

    And I could not handle my despair and guilt when finally, I was able to see what was going on. I love this cat with all of my heart.

    So. She began medication. And responded badly. Projectile vomiting. In addition to her vet, we brought her to a university veterinary clinic with the hope she could get the radiation treatment that would cure her. But they would not consider it, until she was stabilized on the medication. Catch 22. The medication was making her ill.

    Only because I (with M) made it a full time job to focus on her care, did she stabilize on the medication. The vets were little help at all.

    So when she was stabilized with a thyroid level within normal range, she began this bizarre symptom called self-excoriation. She was gouging her ears and head, to the point of hair loss and redness. The vets believed it was related to the medication and told me to stop. I refused and lowered the dosage by about 40 percent. And I removed her collar. She stopped the self-excoriation. M is convinced it was the collar all along.

    Meanwhile we had located another clinic to give her the radiation treatment, which was supposed to be this Tuesday. We waited 7 weeks. We had gotten a cancellation. It was a huge deal. M's brother in law took the day off, to drive us. (We neither of us drive freeways.)

    Ten days prior to the radiation treatment, was we were told to stop her medication, and as planned we brought her in for blood work and a chest xray.

    Well, the radiation clinic called perplexed as to why her thyroid levels had not risen being off the methimazole. They wondered if we had continued to give her the medication, beyond the indicated date. No. They wondered if by mistake the lab had tested the wrong blood.

    I brought her in Friday night to retest her blood. Today the vet called me with the same result. Her T4 was a tiny bit more elevated, but just slightly.

    The radiation lab is going to cancel her treatment. Because her t4 is too low.

    She is now off medication and she now has no treatment scheduled. This is an accident waiting to hapoen.without the medication her tumor will overproduce the hormone. within days. She will go back into distress. Her heart rate will shoot up. Her metabolism will rev up. She will begin to lose weight again. Her heart will accelerate she will feel like she is on.merh.

    And the clinic will have cancelled her radiation treatment on tuesday.

    I am in such distress.

    Nobody is helping me. A veterinary clinic, a university veterinary hospital and a specialty clinic. No one will help me. Nobody will take responsibility. M and I are really in this alone.

    The radiation clinic is saying they will logically have cancellations, but just need to see her thyroid level shoot up. But who is there to say that there will be a cancellation in time?

    I just love her so much.

    I cannot bear to see her suffer (again.) I cannot bear to suffer more.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I wish I had an answer. I get very on edge in situations like this.

    As hard as it is and I love me pets like humans, I would keep in touch with the university clinic and at the first sign of a symptom, if that vet is a 24 hr emergency clinic, like our university clinic is (as well as a high level specialty clinic) i would take the cat in at her worst. If there is another excellent ER clinic for animals I would go THERE. I personally would not wait for an appointment if one of my babies were in distress.

    Is this an option? I am so sorry. I know what its like to love a pet that much and hope I helped.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you SWOT. The thing is that the only treatment that will help her is radiation. There are only 2 places in the State that do it. They control the game.

    The first place (the University) said they wanted to see her stabilized first on the medicine before they would even schedule her for the radiation. There is a 3 month wait.

    The second place (this one) now says she is too healthy, and that they wanted to her Thyroid levels to be more at crisis levels, that is, they wanted the tumor to rebound faster. It is a type of cancer.

    We have an emergency vet here. I forgot about them. When I brought her in initially, to them, they said they were to busy to see her. Really?

    I am beside myself. Because there is no place to beat down the door.

    I will do as you suggest. I will call the university Monday to get on their waiting list, and to get scheduled. This other clinic has their next opening Sept. 18th. I bought two scales and will weigh her every day. I will have learned something. That is, how long it takes her tumor to go back into full production, off medication.

    My issue is that if I put her back on the thyroid medication when she begins to go into distress, I will not be able to take advantage of a last-minute cancellation by the clinic. But, the decision will emerge at the time it is supposed to. I need to not go off the deep end.

    It is just that NOT ONE THING has gone right. NOT ONE THING. Every single thing that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. It seems. Except she is healthy right now. She has gained back 3.5 lbs. We are doing something right.

    M and I are hanging out there alone. Because we are being forced to comply with these various clinical protocols. And we are living with a cat we love, who will be thrust into crisis again, by decisions that are out of our hands.

    Two times I have told my vet. I will put her down rather than make her suffer. What is being left unsaid, is that these people are not helping us.

    SWOT. I just read your post again. That is an excellent idea. The Vet Clinic is far away. And we need to be driven. But that is a good idea. Go there. Put it in their laps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    What a horrible ER vet!!!

    We have a bad one too near by, but the University of Wisconsin Vet Clinic is open 24/7 and they are excellent, although two hours away. Still, that is the best place and where our rescue dog Jackson is going for his neurology problem. And where we would take our pets for any emergency.

    I hope you do take Stella to a good ER vet if she gets sick. Maybe they can get her in sooner if she has a bad episode.

    Prayers for both of you!!
     
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    SWOT. Has Jackson come home yet? Have you moved into your new house?
     
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Yes and yes!!!

    Thanks for asking!
     
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    How is it to be in your own house? Your very own. Any surprises? Is it, I mean, like you expected it to be? Has hubs retired? Is he able to be at home to work?
     
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have had my own house before, although we rented a lot in the past twenty years.

    I love this house, more than any I ever had or rented before. Its not just that its mine. Its a great location, really well cared for so we could almost start just decorating right away without making tons of touch ups and repairs, and its secluded, which I like. Literally in the morning I take my dogs outside in back wearing my pj's and robe. There are three other homes on the block, but the way the yards and homes are, we dont really see each others yards...hard to explain. Its a cul de sac.

    We inherited their pool table and I look forward to having pool loving friends over. Its a great pool table.

    I love having coffee and looking out the deck doors to see the birds at the feeder.

    Our yard has a six foot locked fence and the dogs can run free. It would be hard for anyone to get in.

    We also put in a very good security system because we will be traveling.

    I feel safe and cozy and happy in my house. Its very homey.

    Again thanks for asking :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Was it just a regular collar? I have heard of cats getting sick from medicated collars.

    I hope you get help soon. Ksm
     
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Regular collar. On cell. Thanx.
     
  11. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I am so very sorry to hear about your dear Stella. Our cat is also named Stella and we adore her every bit as much as you love your dear lady.

    As distressing as it is that her radiation appointment was cancelled, it does sound like you managed to find a medication dosage that Stella could live with, after you removed her awful collar! At least that was what I thought I read; please correct me if I am wrong. But if I am right, hopefully her T4 levels will reach the appropriate level soon.

    It might be wise to get a second opinion from a specialty veterinarian if that is something affordable (these specialists can be extremely expensive). I wonder if somehow the medication itself zapped Stella's thyroid and she is now no longer even in need of the radiation therapy? In any case you need and deserve answers.

    Reading ahead I see she has put on some weight and seems to be doing well. All you can do is maintain this positive regimen, possibly get a second or even third opinion, and continue monitoring her T4 levels.

    If necessary keep scheduling radiation appointments so when her body is ready, assuming she still needs this treatment, she will be treated ASAP.

    Years ago I had another kitty who passed away from old age in 2010. In 2004 she had the radiation procedure. We were told that while a tumor does cause the condition, that most of the time they are not malignant. My cat's wasn't. How does your vet know that Stella's tumor is in fact malignant? Have they tested it?

    My understanding from way back when was that there was really no way to tell for sure but the odds were very strong that the tumor was benign.

    You are a wonderful cat mom and Stella knows it for sure!
     
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    We have been to our states premier university vet hospital, uc Davis. And $1000 later for one morning her diagnosis was confirmed. They wanted her t4 to come down on medication. Before scheduling her for the radiation.

    This new clinic which only does radiation called radiocat, now wants to see high t4.

    This is making me nuts. A catch 22. We have been at this five months.

    I had a talk with m. He thinks we cannot please three masters and agrees with you. We take responsibility and control.

    I will tell radiocat my dilemma.

    I will not keep her off the t4 and suffering while passively waiting for a cancellation. Ww will monitor her weight and when her metabolism begins to rev up we will resume her t4.

    So a decision has been made. No undue suffering to qualify for treatment unless there is a specific date identified and a clear commitment by them.

    M believes we all die and we need to fight but accept mortality when it is time. He sees me sacrificing my own body because I do not accept the limits of my power.

    I am trying to look at it this way.

    I love her so much. What a trip you have a Stella too.

    Thank you very much bbu.it helps.
     
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well. Neither scale worked. One because it did not work. The second because she escapes. We ordered scale number 3, an infant toddler scale, online. On Tuesday I will let you know if she cooperates. We do use the towel security method to hold her to medicate her. So we have a chance at success. Only a chance.

    You guys. I feel some security knowing you are involved. Not so helpless and alone and desperate.

    Thank you.

    __

    Bbu. No. They have not biopsied the tumor.

    My concern is less the tumor and more the effects on her body of the excessive thyroid hormone.

    At this point there is the fact she's off the methimazole. And the fact that within a few days she will be in distress. And there's her idiosyncratic reactions to the methimazol itself.. And even a questiin if the vets will continue supplying it. Because they believe it caused the self-excoriation to her ears and head.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  14. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I hope that it brings some small comfort that the tumor is statistically unlikely to be malignant. Can Radiocat make an exception to their T4 requirement given that Stella can not tolerate the oral medications?

    How frustrating!
     
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That is what is pending. Tomorrow I will know.

    She is idiosyncratic in every conceivable way. Why is her t4 not bouncing back to a higher level? That is what they eantm. But in the scheme of things it is good that her body is hanging onto health.

    This is what frustrates me: the gets hang on to their protocols and their liability phobias and forget about life! And human doctors too.

    Thank you.
     
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Some of this is beyond me esp right now as o am coping with grief and some health concerns. But, I want you to know I truly understand how awful these dilemmas are and wish you much peace, wisdom and that you encounter good, caring and wise doctors to aid you and Stella.
     
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  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa I didnt check in with my own cat angst but I will now if it can cimfort you a bit.

    My best cat ever got renal disease as a fairly young cat. We cant reverse it, but so far we have kept her comfy. Lately she seemed worse, we rushed her to the vet and the vet took her values, which supposedly tell how she is doing.

    Her values were normal!!

    But..

    Normal values in a cat with renal disorder can mean her values dropped because her kidneys are shutting down too.

    We are giving her saline injections every night and the vet gave her antibiotics in case she had an infection and nausea medications. She seems better but she is not the same cat. Quiet. Not as affectionate. Sleeps even more than a cat should. But she still loves to sit in the window and look outside and meow.

    We want her comfortable. If she ever seems she is not, it will be time.

    What a good kitty she is. She didnt deserve renal failure at only 8, which is not really old for a cat. Sadly we already know we will cremate our baby and kerp her ashes.

    Our cat is somewhat of a mystery now too. Copa I am so very sorry. It is so very hard to lose a beloved family member. I hope they can help your beloved cat.

    I did not post this sooner because it hurts my heart.
     
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh my I'm so sorry to hear this, from both you Copa and you SWOT. Cats are such funny little creatures, not as needy and openly loving as dogs, but for any cat person at least, they worm their way into your heart like nothing else.

    Our Boo is also having renal problems. The vet put her on a special food. She won't eat it. Period. She was so bad about the dry food she wouldn't eat wet food the dry food was touching - like a little kid who won't eat his potatoes if the broccoli touches it. It took us weeks to find a wet food (non-medicated) that she would eat. Now we're mixing it with the wet prescription food. We're up to about a 55/45 mix - more prescription than otc. We'll see if we can eventually get her switched over. She has to have it "fresh". If it gets a few hours old she won't eat it. We supplement it with Purina dry at night just because if we give her more wet food overnight, she wastes it.

    We hope that having at least half her food be the prescription is better than nothing. Because she really will eat NOTHING. She'll starve and cry and lose weight. She's a tiny cat anyway - like 7 or 8 lbs; a pound is a lot of weight to lose!

    Oh Copa, this sounds so awful! But, is there ANY chance that maybe the medication put her in a kind of remission? Maybe she won't go back into distress? At least they'll get her in on a cancellation. I know you don't want to see her suffer...but surely it wouldn't be for long...

    Big hugs to you both and gentle pats to your furry kids.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  19. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I have some experience with this as my old girl Poopy, who died in 2010 at the age of close to 20 (I found her as an adult so her true age was always a question mark), had kidney disease too. Its complications did eventually claim her life but I kept her alive and happy for many years after the diagnosis.

    Lil, it is SO IMPORTANT that cats with kidney disease eat, even if it's crap Fancy Feast, something is better than nothing. The highest quality prescription food available won't help a cat if she won't eat it. Get her whatever she wants!

    Here's a wonderful website that helped me so much when I was coping with my Poopy's kidney disease, and I know it will help you as well:

    Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease - Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Cat

    Kidney disease can have horrible twists, turns, ups and downs. Many cats recover from what may at first seem like an insurmountable downswing. In Poopy's case, her first "crash" was her last. But some cats crash multiple times. I like to think she only crashed at the end because the medications and fluids I provided kept her from getting too bad off until the end was inevitable.

    Much love and hugs....and chin scritches for the kitties.
     
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Swot. What brand of food is your kitty eating?

    Stella is stage 1:eek:r 2 kidney disease and I plan to change her diet after the procedure,

    We are still waiting for a phone call. I am in agony. I do very poorly helpless, when a loved on is at risk.

    Lil. I would think about stopping with the dry food at night. I read it is harmful. Not just because of the ash but because of the lack of water. I do not understand how it is that some kidney food is fry, though.

    There is a great list of cat foods online. That compares the nutritional components of like 500 different cat foods. The important ones are phosphates, low carbs and protein. Poultry, chicken, rabbit and liver are preferred. Something about the protein composition.

    They sell them online at chewy.com. the only issue is $$$. They sell in bulk. Like 24.

    Well. I am saving the best for last.

    I just got a call.

    Stella was accepted!!!! We go tomorrow. I am over the moon. She doesn't have to suffer. Nor do I. Accept I am anxious and I will miss her.

    Wow.