Cat Medicine - Treating Feline Hyperthyroidism

Cat medicine is able to treat many feline illnesses very successfully. Feline hyperthyroid medication is a great example. Hyperthyroidism in cats is a serious illness that is fatal if left untreated. However, properly treated, cats with this disorder can have normal lifespans.

Dr. Neely,

I have a 14 year old female cat who is taking the cat medicine, Tapazole. She was healthy up until about 6 months ago when she lost a lot of weight. The vet’s diagnosis was hyperthyroidism. She is now taking 10mg of Tapezole twice daily which seemed to fix the weight problem and her behavior returned to normal.

About 2 weeks ago she began having episodes of wheezing and her breathing has become generally labored. Went back to the vet two days ago. No temperature. After an X-ray he says there is some generally enlargement of the lungs, but no conclusive diagnosis.

He gave her a prednisone shot and decided to treat her for all possibilities: infection, bronchitis, and asthma. So we are now giving her the following cat medicine: Amoxicillin (liquid), Prednisone (5mg tab), and Aminophylline (fraction of a tablet).

Today her condition seems worse. Breathing is very shallow and labored with a noticeable rattle upon exhale. Very lethargic and gets tired after walking a short distance. Appears to be losing appetite also.

Maybe this is just old age catching up with her, but I don’t want to overlook some other possibility. Any other suggestions would be most appreciated. I don’t want her to suffer either.

Thank you,

Dear Robert,

I am sorry your kitty isn't doing well. My feeling is that it is all related to hyperthyroidism and the damage it does to the heart.

By the time a cat shows obvious weight loss, she has been hyperthyroid for some time. Excess thyroid hormone affects just about every part of the body, but it does the worst damage to the heart. Most cats that are hyperthyroid already have enlarged hearts by the time their thyroid condition is diagnosed.

Cat medicine for hyperthyroidism can be very effective, but if the heart is already damaged, the kitty can develop fluid in or around the lungs which shows itself as labored breathing. Sometimes it can be treated with diuretics and heart medication, but sometimes it is too late.

You mention "enlargement of the lungs" which is not a term that is used, so I don't know if you misunderstood the vet or if you need to see another vet. Perhaps he said "enlarged heart"? At any rate, I would be concerned about giving prednisone which is not good for heart disease or infection.

This is not "old age". This is a primary problem with her lungs or a lung problem secondary to heart disease which is secondary to hyperthyroidism.

I would suggest you get her back to the vet or perhaps to a different vet for a second opinion on a new X-ray. Asthma has a definite lung pattern, pneumonia is very obvious, fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) is very easy to see, and fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) is obvious.

It certainly sounds like a diuretic is needed and sounds like the pred is not doing any good, but in fact may be making her worse.

If it's possible to find a heart specialist in your area, that would be best for her. X-rays and possibly ultrasound of her lungs and heart should give you a definite answer so she can receive the correct treatment.

It sounds like she should be in the hospital right now with oxygen support until a diagnosis is made and the proper cat medicine and other treatment helps her breathe well. I hope she can be helped. 14 is not that old for a cat. Many live until their late teens or longer. You have my very best wishes.

Dr. Neely

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