|Purred: Tue Mar 6, '12 5:16pm PST |
|So sorry you're going through all of this with your kitty!
Two of my cats, Jennifer and Miss Mittens, had hypothyroidism and based on my experience with them and what I learned, I can answer some of your questions.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by: radioactive iodine treatment for treatment of hyperthyroidism (which your cat had), a tumor on the thyroid gland (possibly caused by too little iodine in the diet) or damage to the thyroid gland, usually by surgery.
You should have been informed about the possibility of hypothyroidism when your cat had the radioactive iodine treatment. Most of the cases of hypothyroidism I've heard about were caused by the I-131.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, lethargy, listlessness and a dull, dry coat. I'd imagine a cat with untreated hypothyroidism would feel very lousy! I have friends and a family member who have hypothyroidism and until they were diagnosed and treated, they felt very sick and miserable!
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a blood test. The lab my vet uses gives a range of 0.8 - 4.0 as the range for normal thyroid function. Anything over 4.0 usually means hyperthyroidism and anything under 0.8 usually means hypothyroidism. If the thyroid level has dropped too low, I'd be concerned.
My cat Jennifer had hyperthyroidism and because she couldn't tolerate the medication to treat it (Tapazole) and because it was hard to find a place that did the radioactive iodine treatment back in 1991, she had surgery to remove her thyroid glands. Afterwards, she developed hypothyroidism and had to take medication for it for the rest of her life (I believe she took Synthroid). Once she started the medication, she was fine.
Miss Mittens never had hyperthyroidism but she did get a tumor on her thyroid gland. She had cancer and was undergoing chemo and possibly that had something to do with it. Because she had cancer, I was worried about the tumor on her thyroid gland and she had surgery to remove the tumor. The tumor was benign but afterwards she developed hypothyroidism. It's possible either the tumor caused the hypothyroidism or her thyroid gland was injured during surgery.
My vet then consulted an endocrinologist and the specialist said not to treat it at that time. Miss Mittens wasn't well to begin with and she became even more listless and lethargic and gained a lot of weight. She looked awful too! She also developed a grade 3 heart murmur. I don't know if her heart murmur was caused by her hypothyroidism. She did see a cardiologist but hypothyroidism was never mentioned as the cause of her heart murmur.
A few months later, when she saw her internal medicine specialist, he didn't like it that her hypothyroidism wasn't being treated and put her on Levothyroxine. It's the same medication humans take for hypothyroidism. It's a generic drug and inexpensive and she took it once a day. (The dosage for cats is actually much higher than the dosage for humans!) Once she started taking the Levothyroxine, her energy level improved and she looked and acted like she felt much better.
Hope this helped!
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