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.

24 comments:

  1. Wow, Jack's issues are sure complex! It's a good thing you persevered with delving deeper into his hypothyroid problem.

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  2. I hope someone from the catblogging community has experienced with this complex issues. We haven't, but we'll keep Jack close to our hearts.

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  3. Jack, you have the most precious Mommy in the world. You and I both have thyroid problems, although I'm not a kitty. I was hyper and then I became hypo and have to be on medication for the rest of my life but that is okay with me. I know you will be just fine, Jack, cause Mommy will make sure of that. She fights for those who do not have a voice.

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  4. We're surprised that no one suspected hypothyroid earlier. The humans we know who had I-131 both went hypothyroid and we've heard of cats who did, too, though it doesn't seem to be quite as common. When Rhett had his I-131 years ago, it was on the list of possible side effects that the head peep had to sign off on. The head peep is not as trusting of I-131 being the magic fix that everyone says it is. You still have lingering effects afterward no matter what, it seems.

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    1. I was told that hypo might be an issue. It is why I went to the place that does the 'gold standard' of treatment, the scan before and doses on that information, and not on weight or giving a standard dose to all... which were my other two options.

      The reason the I131 is the ideal treatment is because it does actually kill off the over active part of the thyroid that is pumping out too much hormone. Medications simply mask the effects of the overdose, which doesn't prevent the thyroid from having additional issues. It is reasoned that the over active parts of the thyroid would take up the radioactive iodine before the regular parts of the thyroid can get to it.. apparently this wasn't the case in Jack..

      I would have to say my recommendation for anyone who is getting I131 done in their cats is to have the full thyroid panel done and not just a t4 level post procedure.

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    2. Agreed on the full panel - and yeah, when you said shedding, I suspected that was it, especially when combined with weight gain. Dang - the fact that you went to ANgell was what I'd hoped would be the magic bullet that helped you avoid this....

      marty says that's why they call it "practicing" medicine. Every individual is so unique.... I'm so sorry :-(

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  5. What a lucky, lucky boy to have such an awesome advocate in his corner❤❤❤

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  6. What a lucky, lucky boy to have such an awesome advocate in his corner❤❤❤

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  7. You are so right. As you know, I pushed for tests for Tucker and then discovered his lung cancer. The pet parent knows best.

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  8. So glad you figured this out for him. Sometimes, as it is with humans, thyroid issues slip around. Glad you have the wiling vets and the means to handle everything Jack tosses at you! Whoever may have adopted him years ago may not have been able to do that for him.

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  9. Your love for Jack is amazing! He's a lucky kitty, to have you as his person. I will take your words to heart, because we've had a few issues recently with Chuck and now I'm going to a 2nd vet. Being first-time cat people, and although I read up on tons of things, I'm am no expert. But you say listen to that inner voice, and I will continue to do so! Jack is beautiful, btw!

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  10. Great advice! Jack, you are so lucky to have a mom who care so much. Praying and purring that you get everything back under control.

    Gus, Jaq, and Pearl

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  11. we are so glad Jack has you fighting for him....and that you are willing to take a stand :)

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  12. We didn't know about Jack's issues. He's lucky to have a mom like you that didn't give up. It's ver good advice.

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  13. We didn't know about Jack's issues. He's lucky to have a mom like you that didn't give up. It's ver good advice.

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  14. We didn't know about Jack's issues. He's lucky to have a mom like you that didn't give up. It's ver good advice.

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  15. I use the "gut method" with my guys often. I live with these critters around the clock, and I know all about their habits, diets and behaviors. I trust my vets to give me good advice based on their clinical experience, but I often have little details the books overlook. Advocacy is just so, so important, when it comes to keeping cats healthy!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  16. I'm glad to hear you have answer but sorry it is what it is! But there are worse things. Jack is indeed lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have Jack! And we are all lucky to learn from this experience.

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  17. Sometimes you gotta go with your gut. And it's a good thing you did because now you know what's going on with Jack. We just hope it's not permanent and his thyroid straightens out and gets back to where it should be. Jack sure is lucky to have you.

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  18. I really admire your persistence and also your wisdom. I'm afraid that I would have just trusted the vet's opinion, and if not, most likely would have then taken Angell's word. This is a very good lesson for me that I plan on remembering. I'm sorry this happened, but like the others said, Jack is indeed fortunate to have you!

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  19. I sure hope the meds will help Jack life a long and happy life. Poor boy, he's been through a lot I'm glad he is with you though as some pet parents may not have fought so long and hard for him.

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  20. I am glad you pushed for more testing, vets are people and no one is perfect. I recently went through something similar with Spooky, I thought he had lyme disease and the vet said it wasn't possible- but it was and he did have it.Our kitties need us to be their voices.

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  21. Unfortunately, it's a normal age for cats to develop thyroid problems. My cat, too, developed hyperthyroidism when he was 13 years old.

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  22. You care so well and so much of Jack ! We're sorry to read this. We send you tons of purrs. Purrs

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