Dec 01 2011


17 year-old short hair

Tiger is a 17 year old neutered male domestic short hair cat. His owner describes him as sensitive, bossy and definite creature of habit, reminding his owner of feeding time, litter box cleaning time and cuddle time. He even reminds his owner when it is pill time. In April of 2011 Tiger stopped eating. His owner had noticed that for weeks prior to this Tiger seemed ravenous; he wanted to eat anything anyone else was eating but he was losing weight. Tiger’s weight loss was what concerned his owner the most.

When Tiger was examined at the Riverside Small Animal clinic, he was thin, dehydrated and had a very high heart rate. A blood panel and urinalysis were recommended. Tiger is a wonderful cat to work with and was very co-operative and happy to oblige with the blood and urine taking. After the lab tests were done, Tiger was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism as well as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Nothing is simple, however, because hyperthyroid cats are supposed to be hungry not anorectic. Tiger was hospitalized and hooked up to IV fluids to rehydrate him. He was also started on thyroid medication as well as antibiotics for his UTI. Unfortunately, Tiger continued to not want to eat and started vomiting. The reasons for the vomiting was not immediately apparent from his presentation or his disease so Dr Carrigan discontinued all Tiger’s oral meds and the vomiting stopped! The thyroid medication was added back to the treatment protocol and Tiger seemed to tolerate that well. When the oral antibiotics were added back poor Tiger started vomiting again. The culprit was identified and the oral antibiotics replaced by a long acting injectable antibiotic.

Despite being rehydrated and treated for his hyperthyroidism, Tiger still refused to eat. We encouraged him to eat by syringing mushy food into his mouth, which he seemed to like. The problem with continually syringe feeding cats is that they can develop a food aversion, which we really did not want to happen. Dr. Carrigan discussed a feeding tube with Tiger’s owner, but it was decided to try feeding Tiger at home. True to form, Tiger was a trooper and tolerated syringe feeding then started eating on his own!

Over the next few months we monitored Tigers thyroid hormone level and kidney function. When cats are hyperthyroid, they have really high blood pressure, which pushes lots of blood through the kidneys. When we treat them, and their blood pressure returns to normal we unmask any underlying kidney issues which were hiding. Knowing Tiger’s owner wanted to send Tiger to Northwest Nuclear Medicine (NWNM), in Vancouver, for radioactive Iodine treatment, we kept in close contact with them, constantly reviewing the blood results and how Tiger was doing. After several months of treatment, with stable kidney function Tiger came off his medication and went off to NWNM!

Tiger spent a week in Vancouver after his injection with radioactive Iodine. The iodine attacks the overactive cells in the thyroid gland and destroys them, offering a clinical cure for hyperthyroidism. The cats have to stay in hospital for around a week as they shed the radioactive Iodine in the urine, saliva and feces. They have to be barrier nursed and all their waste handled as Radioactive until the radioactivity decays away so that their owners and caregivers are not to exposed to this potentially dangerous compound. Tiger has never looked back. He is gaining weight, eating and d drinking normally and all round a happy kitty.

Tiger’s owner’s decision to take Tiger to NWNM was a difficult one. She weighed the pros and cons of the other treatment protocols and because she works shift work and could not guarantee giving Tiger his medication every 12 hours, she opted for radioactive Iodine treatment. She also worked out the cost for treatment and monitoring blood work for 3 years and found that the costs were comparable.

Tiger holds a very special place in his owner’s heart; a few years ago she had a back injury and while bed ridden, every night Tiger would lay beside her and rest his head on her shoulder and purr her to sleep. Tiger starts purring the minute he comes through the hospital door. He is always so happy to see everyone. Tiger is a true gentleman and has never been anything but wonderful to work with. We are glad that Tiger’s treatment went so well and he and his owner are back to their normal routine of him telling her what to do!


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