Feline Hyperthyroidism – Simon’s story

He loved holding the remote!

He loved holding the remote!

One day I realized I had a really skinny cat. I’m not sure when Simon went from being a huge fat cat to a skinny cat, but one day he wasn’t my big lump of fur anymore. My feline friend was 15 years old so I knew that medical issues may arise, but I had no idea what a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism would entail.

Cats can live great lives if hyperthyroidism is caught early and is treated properly. For Simon, my vet and I chose to administer Methimazole via a gel rubbed on his ears twice a day. Administering meds this way is a much easier method than trying to give a cat a pill. Unfortunately, when I moved to another state and had to switch vets, the new vet had no idea that Methimazole was available in a twist-a-dose gel format. I had to keep getting the meds from my old vet in another state until my new vet was able to research and obtain the product. I also had trouble finding a place to buy it online. On a search today, I found this site which may help you in your search.

I was given great instructions on how to apply the gel to Simon’s ears, but if you were not or are just curious, check out this forumThey give a detailed and accurate explanation along with video on how it all works.

Anyway, the meds kept Simon happy and healthy for a few years. He gained back several pounds to be at a healthy weight. He was active and playful. However, meds are not a cure. As time went on, his health began to deteriorate once again. Trips to the vet now included rehydration via IV fluid. My only option at that point was to begin rehydration administration at home via subcutaneous injection. Fortunately, Simon was a very mellow cat so he tolerated this well. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. I cried and at first it was very difficult for me. The first few times, my boyfriend helped me hold Simon steady which was a huge relief. After a few times though, I got the hang of it and was able to do it all on my own.

Watching YouTube videos like this one really helped. I can’t tell you how many videos I watched. I also read a lot about the various size of needles which affects the pain of injection and flow speed (the smaller the needle, the less pain, but longer to get the fluid in). It’s good to find a happy medium. Sites like this one will help you determine what size needle is best for you and your cat. You will most likely need to buy them with a prescription from your vet from the internet as many vets do not carry the smaller needles.  You can also purchase the fluid (I used Lactated Ringers Solution) from the Internet. Also, check Craigslist.org in your area for people selling excess product. After a cat passes away, many people are generous with their remaining product and will either give it away or sell it for a low price; that’s how I got my first batch of product. Personally, I ended up donating mine to a shelter when it was no longer needed.

For Simon and me, the easiest way to administer the fluid was to sit together in the corner of the couch. I hung the fluid bag on a hanger and attached that hanger to a standing lamp next to the couch. (I actually left it there all the time for ease of set up). Sometimes I would warm the bag of fluid in a large bowl of hot water first. I would have a bag of treats next to us, a bowl of milk or sometimes I would feed him breakfast or dinner while we fluid-ed. One of the most important things for me to do was to use a permanent marker on the bag and mark where the fluid dosages should be. This made it much easier to know when we were done.

The needle stays in on its own if the cat remains fairly still

The needle stays in on its own if the cat remains fairly still. Here he is eating treats.

You can see the yellow edge of the needle resting on his side here

You can see the yellow edge of the needle resting on his side here

He's obv not too bothered by it. Stayed busy watching TV :)

He’s obv not too bothered by it….must have been distracted flipping thru TV channels  🙂

Another issue that Simon ran into because of his dehydration was constipation. For this, my vet suggested Lactulose. It is given in a liquid form (but now seems to have a powder form as well). It is reasonably priced and comes in regular and flavored. Another option is to add pure pumpkin puree to your cat’s diet. Simon didn’t care for the pumpkin, and I tried administering it to him via a large syringe but it was more trouble than it was worth. Doing these things to keep your cat alive is only a good idea if your cat is going to be happy. Torturing him with too many meds and things he hated wasn’t an option for me.

Ultimately, Sub-Q fluids helped extend Simon’s life another few happy months. Don’t be afraid to try it. Your vet should help you try it the first couple of times. Also, having a friend help for the first week or so will be a huge relief to you – even if they just are there to provide moral support.

Good luck and best wishes in your kitty’s journey.

Sleeping wrapped up on my leg. His love never stopped.

Sleeping wrapped up on my leg. His love never stopped. I’m sure he knew I was only trying to help.


2 thoughts on “Feline Hyperthyroidism – Simon’s story

  1. Thank you for this. While it makes me sad that I’ll be losing my little furball of 16 years no to far from now, I’ll be happy that she’s comfy.

    My vet didn’t let on that there was another way to administer the meds and we gave up since she just started barfing up the pills all the time. I tried putting the pills in her food and she would either just eat around it or not at all. She’s on no meds at all at the moment.

    I have 2 water fountains and she drinks continuously, albeit, there is still the occasional stuck turd. She’s all of a sudden a super picky eater and will only eat cooked meat. No more over the counter stuff. Have you any experience with homemade cat food?

    • Hi Madeline,
      So sorry to hear about your furball. 😦 It’s never easy.

      I think most vets don’t know about the ear meds thing. You might be able to get some life back into her if you start the ear meds now. You can print out the information about the ear administration and bring it to the vet. At the very least he should write a prescription that you can use to order from the Internet.

      As for eating, you may want to try tuna fish from the can that sits in oil. That helped my Simon a bit with the pooing issues and it helped stimulate his appetite as well. Too much tuna isn’t good for them, but I figure at the end, we should just do whatever makes them happy and comfortable. Sometimes I would boil chicken for him and put in some canned veggies as well (like peas, carrots and green beans). If I gave him chicken or tuna, I would usually try to mush it in Natural Choice canned cat food as well in hopes he would eat the delicious stuff and the store stuff. It didn’t usually work though! 🙂

      Good luck with your little girl. Please let me know if I can be of any more help.


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