A couple weeks ago, I posted on my Catster blog about Pimp's test results at his last vet visit. He and Moo went in for their regular checkups, and I mentioned that he'd lost a little weight.
He's 12 years old, and I affectionately call him my "little bag of bones" (he was once 22 pounds, so anything is a bag of bones compared to that!), and I wanted to be sure there wasn't some underlying issue other than simple aging.
The vet said his weight is perfect for his size and age, and she wished more cats looked like him. (Yay, Pimp!) But I pressed on, because I know he's lost weight, so even if he's a healthy weight now, he has lost a noticeable amount in the past few months.
She suggested we test his thyroid, since this is something that can affect weight and many older cats develop issues. And so we did.
And a couple days later, she called me to tell me that his thyroid levels were through the roof -- higher than any other cat she'd ever seen even.
I calmly asked her WHAT IN THE WORLD THAT MEANT.
She explained that hyperthyroidism in cats is fairly common, and that it is generally easily treatable. An overactive thyroid can cause all of a kitty's organs to work double-time, especially their heart.
We have several options for treatment:
1. A daily pill (eek! Any option is better than that for Pimp or he'll live under the bed from now on.).
2. A medicated cream that I'd rub in his ear every day (but if you have more than one cat, it is a little hard because she said Moo should not be licking it because we don't want his normal levels to go down).
3. A relatively new diet treatment option where he'd eat exclusively Hill's Prescription y/d food, made just to treat hyperthyroidism (he'd have to eat this forever).
4. Down the line, Radioiodine Therapy, which is one shot which could cure him for good (but we have to get his levels down first).
We chose to go the food route for now and ordered the prescription y/d food in both dry and canned. The goal is to get his thyroid levels back to normal -- we'll retest him in four weeks to see how he's doing, and then again in eight -- and then do bloodwork to make sure they hyperthyroidism isn't hiding any other conditions. She said that sometimes a cat can have kidney issues, but since these levels are so high, it actually masks them in blood tests.
Later on, once his levels are regular and (all paws crossed) when his kidneys check out, I think I'll look into the Radioiodine treatment, because then he'd be cured and we wouldn't have to eat or buy special food. And, well, he'd be cured.
For now, our biggest mission is making sure Pimp doesn't eat any of Moo's food. The boys are used to having food out all the time, so the switch to meal feeding is proving to be a big challenge for Moo. He wants to graze, not scarf. But Pimp can only have his food (and nothing else - not even treats!) in order to get better.
So we're working on it. I've been talking to my friends at Hill's Pet Nutrition, and they're going to work with our vet too, giving any advice and support we might have or ask for to make sure Pimpy gets the best care ever!
I'll keep you guys updated. In the meantime, Pimp feels perfectly fine. He is acting normal and there is nothing wrong with him, except just a number on a chart. All paws crossed his next test results come back showing much better results.