Feline hyperthyroidism: our Puzzola.

_MG_0185Last year Stefano and I took our eldest cat, Puzzola, to the vet because she had peed all over my bathrobe, which indicated in no uncertain terms that she had a urinary tract infection (I wrote a post about this episode in February 2013, btw). The vet confirmed the infection and immediately put her on antibiotics. Then, while checking her out, the vet found a small nodule on Puzzola’s thyroid gland. A blood test confirmed what she suspected–Puzzola had hyperthyroidism. At that time, it was a very mild case…

Puzzola was supposed to go back for a checkup (=blood test) after a month or thereabouts, but all this unfortunately happened while my father-in-law was very ill…and, with all that was going on, we just couldn’t deal with stressing out Puzzola, too. So I just gave her the recommended dose of Tapazole, the conventional drug prescribed for hyperthyroid humans, too. IMG_6527

For a while I put her (and the other cats, too) on C3 Complex curcumin powder, which I mixed in with their canned food, but, while some (= the eldest cats) loved it, others (= the youngest) simply refused to eat it after a while…Then, when we left for the States to visit my parents last summer, I couldn’t bring myself to ask our wonderful cat/house sitter to prepare the curcumin mixture for the cats on top of everything else she was doing for us. As a result, the cats went without curcumin for months.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Puzzola was more agitated and anxious than before (and it wasn’t because she had begun drinking wine, as the photo on the right might suggest ;-) ). Her behavior was simply, well, odd. I made an appointment with the vet immediately.

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Well, in a nutshell, her blood test results are simply terrible. TERRIBLE. Her liver numbers are sky high. SCARY high…

And her hyperthyroidism is now listed as “SERIOUS” (“grave” in Italian). The vet assured us, though, that Puzzola is not terminally ill. But we need to intervene. And that is what we are doing. By the way, this, I hope, will explain why I haven’t been blogging recently. All my free time is spent doing heaps of research on hyperthyroidism in cats…

I’ve looked at clinical trials, I’ve looked at natural remedies…anything and everything. I know all there is to know, practically, about feline hyperthyroidism–its causes (BPAs in cans has been linked to this condition, for example) and treatments. I’ve read heaps of forum comments, both in Italian and English, written by other humans who have hyperthyroid cats…

Anyway, the first changes we made were as follows:

  1. We have increased her daily dose of Tapazole. This doesn’t make me happy at all, because this drug comes with a bunch of side effects, including liver toxicity!, but for now she seems to tolerate it well, even at the higher dose.
  2. I am back to mixing curcumin into the cats’ canned food once a day. The eldest cats lick their plates clean and most often meow/stare at me for more…the youngest cats will gulp it down one day but turn up their noses at it the next…But the important thing is that Puzzola absolutely loves the stuff. I mix the Tapazole in with her curcumin wet food. Thus far it has worked like a charm.

puzzolaShe seems to have calmed down a lot, though sometimes she still goes wacky (her metabolism is on the go-go-go all the time, poor sweetie). Just a few minutes ago, for example, she ran helter-skelter into my study and wouldn’t settle down…aaaaagh. We’re also trying to give her milk thistle for her liver (she’s so difficult, though, and so far hasn’t taken it)…

Her next set of tests have been scheduled for May.

Last week we took her to a homeopathic vet who admitted to having treated only FIVE cats with hyperthyroidism in her entire career. She hadn’t even heard of the feline hyperthyroidism-homeopathic remedy clinical trial that I asked her about. Uhm.

Furthermore, among other things, she suggested that we put Puzzola on a raw meat diet that included chicken and turkey. Yes, raw. Oh, and, worse, RAW PORK. When I brought up the issue of possible salmonella (etc.) contamination, she told us that freezing raw meat KILLS salmonella and other nasties. Well, from what I have since read online, that appears not to be the case: freezing chicken meat can slow down the growth of salmonella, but it doesn’t kill it. Well, I am hugely disappointed and doubt we’ll be going back…

I am taking the diet issue seriously, though. I want to bring down Puzzola’s numbers AND I want my cats to be on the BEST diet possible. I have eliminated anything that contains corn and wheat and by-products (oh yes, I am the crazy cat lady reading labels in pet food stores…), and the raw meat diet is also OUT–even before it began!–but we have been giving all the cats some slightly cooked meat (cooked rare), the same meat we ourselves eat…

We have always given our cats what we thought was the best cat food available (only bought at the local pet food store, no supermarket brands, no crappy cheap stuff with fillers and so on ). But now we’re not so sure it’s the very best. I’ve been looking at cat food that is grain-free and possibly also low in iodine (but not Hill’s y/d, which can also cause problems, it seems!)…

Unfortunately, there are no simple answers…and so my search goes on…