I first noticed something not quite right with our 12 year-old cat Horrace when he started losing weight. He’d always been greedy and a little overweight so when I started to feel his vertebrae it rang some alarm bells. We visited our vets and initially they weren’t concerned. A few more visits later (as he was always susceptible to illness) and the vet recommended blood tests as his weight was starting to drop quite dramatically, 10% in 5 weeks. The results came back and they told us he had a condition called hyperthyroidism, something I was completely unaware of. We were offered 3 choices, medication, surgery or radioactive iodine, the latter being the “gold star option” and they did not recommend the surgery option. Our vet, Ricardo, had been recently to a conference presented by Andrew Bodey so was very informative on the subject. Due to costs we initially opted for the medication, we were lucky, Horrace had always been an easy cat to give medication to, it was as if he understood it made him better. After around a month my concerns grew again, he was not looking well, became lethargic and started losing weight again, back to the vets we went. More blood tests showed he reacted badly to the medication so the only option left was the radioactive iodine treatment. Horrace’s health comes first, however if the treatment gave him 2 or 3 years of good health the costs equated to the same as if we continued on the medication and had to have regular bloods done, so the decision was made for us. Contact was made by our vets to the Hyperthyroid Cat Centre who rang me that very evening. I spoke to Andrew in great detail about the treatment, necessary hospital stay and subsequent aftercare. There was a lot to digest but I was emailed a very detailed booklet to read, this proved very informative and gave me chance to better understand the treatment and ask any questions. Horrace had to come off the tablets immediately due to the adverse effect and have further bloods done with the results being sent to Andrew for analysis. Horrace was deemed a suitable candidate for the treatment – phew!!! The Centre were very accommodating and initially we requested he was booked in to coincide with a holiday we had already had booked, that way he was in isolation whilst we were away and I would be distracted from thinking about him 24/7. When we rang to finalise the dates I jokingly said he could come in the following day as I was desperate to have him treated, to which I was told that there may be a late cancellation and it may well be a possibility, an hour later he was booked in and he would stay a few extra days to cover our holiday too.
I was not looking forward to the journey as he has never been a good traveller, but after half an hour he settled reasonably well and we drove the 2 hours to the Centre. I had not even got out of the car when Victoria came out to welcome us. Andrew sat with me over the Centre’s customary “cup of tea and biscuits” and covered everything in detail again to make sure we fully understood the procedure.
Gina then did a full “Horrace interview” so that they understood him as an individual and could make him as comfortable as possible during his stay. I left him knowing he was in good hands albeit a little emotional as I knew I’d not see him for nearly a fortnight. An hour and a half later I had a phone call to tell me he’d had the treatment and it was text book……….relief.
I then had daily phone contact with either Gina or Joanna on how he was in himself and what he’d eaten etc. When we went away they kindly sent daily emails so we could pick up on his progress. I even received a photo which was lovely but did bring a tear.
The day we landed back in the UK we picked him up on our way home. Andrew advised his blood results were looking good and his levels were already in “normal range”. Horrace was very vocal seeing us arrive, but we had to remember not to cuddle him too soon and follow the strict post treatment routine. After a welcome cup of tea and recap on the do’s and don’ts we set off home.
We soon settled into the new routine and Horrace seemed to accept it very well. He did not fuss or perform when left on his own and it was much easier than we anticipated. This is also down to the treatment received and it working so quickly.
He finally was allowed freedom last Friday and did not wander far at all. He had his first month blood checks done and they have come back normal.
What we had not realised until aware of the condition was the build up leading to the diagnosis, this has only been done on reflection realising how it had started to affect our daily life.
• Waking us up at 4:00am for food EVERY DAY – this had become routine over a few years and has since stopped. He had got to the point he’d pull the covers back and scratch your nose to make sure you got up
• Excessive eating, then scratching your legs and worrying for more and more food then leaving it when put down
• Overeating then vomiting – we’d put this down to mice/birds he’d eaten
• Unsettled routine, not sleeping and continually on the move, pacing the room
• One friend that visits he’d always sat on her knee (favouritism) and now he’d become anxious when she visited and made a nuisance of himself to the point we had to lock him out of the room
• Wide eyes as if continually high on drugs
• Weight loss
We can’t thank our vets, Garth Veterinary Group, for the recommendation or all the team at the Hyperthyroid Cat Centre enough.
I was worried about the cost of treatment as he was not insured (the condition had already been removed by the insurers due to his age before we cancelled his insurance). I thought about it and applied for an interest-free credit card to spread the costs, we were accepted and it now costs me the same each month that it would have done if he’d had tablets and bloods…………something worth bearing in mind for others considering this option. We would certainly recommend this over and above all other options.
It’s nice to have our Horrace back again.