Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Jack and his health issues.
For those of you new to this blog, this is Jack. He is the first foster kitty that I ended up adopting. He came to me in my third set of fosters, and I even returned him to the shelter to go up for adoption, but I sobbed and sobbed. Jack is special to me in a completely different way than my other special kitties..
Last year he was diagnosed as hyperthyroid. Jack has had a life long issue with urinary issues, and we couldn't figure out why after nearly ten years of being stable we couldn't get him stable again. Routine blood work found the issue and I put him on medication and things stabled out. I did a cost comparison of medicating him for the rest of his life and doing the radioactive iodine 'gold standard' treatment for this issue. The I131 treatment was going to come up as slightly more expensive but it would 'fix' the problem where medication would only mask it.
Last October he went to Angell because they were the only facility I felt comfortable with. I had three options, one picked the dose of radioactive iodine based on his weight, the other on his thyroid level and Angell would do the scan and dose based on that.
Jack did very well, and his one month blood work came back as good. He only peed inappropriately a few times. His three month blood work came back and I had a feeling it was a little low. He was originally just over 5 in a scale that went from 0.8-4.7 This three month check up was just over one. I asked if that was too low, thinking that maybe something more ideal would be in the middle of that range, but both my own vet and Angell said no, he was fine.
He was due to have more blood work at the start of the summer, but I heard of a new test that would be coming out this summer that would better test his kidney values, so I held off for a bit. He seemed okay, but he was gaining weight. Then I noticed he seemed to be shedding a bit more than is normal for him and he was starting to get small matts. Still I held off. His weight continued to increase, and he now weighs over fourteen pounds.
The other week he started limping. It caused him a great deal of distress since the litter box is down stairs. Some pain meds for a couple of days and he was feeling better, but while at the vet I decided to do his blood work to see if maybe his thyroid wasn't working right. This time his blood work came back within range, so the vet said it was perfect.
It didn't 'feel' right so I contacted Angell and asked what their opinion was since he was putting on weight. Their answer was that it was right in range, so it was okay, and maybe the weight might be from his diet. Jack eats very cleanly and no more than the other cats and none of them are overweight, and it is the same diet as before the procedure so I pushed. It was suggested to do a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. I asked my vet about it because I wasn't excited at the idea of bringing him back down to Boston, and yes, my vet could do it, and he could also do a full panel which would show other thyroid levels. Both tests, just the TSH and the full panel, was going to take 7-14 days to get back from my vet. Angell said they could get it back in two days. I made my appointment with them and went down to Boston.
Interestingly enough the results of the panel were back before I even made it home that day - driving between MA and ME on a Saturday is not for the faint of heart - and I was right. He is hypothyroid, and we need to supplement him. I am so not happy about this, but it is what it is. I asked if this would be life long, and was told that it might not be, so I have some hope about that. My boy is only 13..
Please, if you think that the vet isn't right in their diagnosis or that you don't have the whole picture, get a second opinion. Push for additional tests. It might be that you are wrong and you are spending money to figure that out, but it might turn out that you are right and you can improve the quality of life of your pet.