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January 27, 2006

radioactive kitty

this afternoon, my vet called to give me some test results for moses. he has hyperthyroid.

it's serious, but there is very good treatment available in our area, and we've caught it early.

that's not to say i didn't spend the afternoon in my office with the door shut and the kleenex box next to me, wishing desperately to go home and hug him.

the treatment is expensive, and a little scary-- i definitely have a few more questions for my vet-- but almost magical in the way it works, from what i have read. they give a single injection of a radioactive isotope at a special treatment center. the isotope is absorbed only by the "bad" thyroid cells, no matter where they are in the body, and it kills only those cells. the healthy thyroid cells are unharmed and eventually regenerate. a single treatement cures most cases.

the side effect is that my cat will actually be radioactive.

he has to stay in the treatment center, which is set up to handle radioactive material (and cats), for several days. i won't be able to visit him during this time.

the big question i have right now is, of course: won't my cat get cancer from this?? secondary questions like, "will he glow?" i suppose i can save for later.

anyway, i do find this upsetting, although as my vet said, if he's going to have a problem at this stage, this is the problem to have. and i'm very glad that i'm at a stage in my life where i can provide an expensive treatement for him without it being a real problem.

anyway. go moseman go.

Posted by lisa at January 27, 2006 07:47 PM


oh no! poor moseman!

i'm curious about how many of those symptoms he has. hyperactivity? diarrhea? hmm, you know, my initial guess would have been that he had *hypo*thyroidism.

wow... i don't know how i could possibly help, but please let me know if i can.

Posted by: xta on January 27, 2006 10:36 PM

Gee, that happens all the time [http://st-rev.livejournal.com/126352.html].

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas on January 27, 2006 11:47 PM

the vomiting tuesday was the first sign. he has lost 1lb in the last month, as compared to his slow, healthy weightloss of about 1lb every six months or so. his blood test came back with a T4 level of 6, as compared to a normal level of 2.2 that he had in 2003. his heart rate was just over 200 at the vet, instead of the normal 160-180, but of course he was agitated so who knows if that was "white coat anxiety" or not.

he goes back for a second blood test and they will attempt to take his blood pressure at that time.

his appetite is huge and he may be drinking more water, but he's always been a big water drinker so that's hard to say. he's a little more frisky, i guess, but it's subtle.

this may have only been going on for a month. dr. miller says he normally sees cats who have had it for 4-6 months and gone from 16lbs to 10lbs in that time. we think the stress of the dog being here this weekend could have exacerbated things just enough to start some vomiting, temporarily. so we may have the dog to thank for the early diagnosis.

Posted by: lisa on January 28, 2006 12:11 AM

Oh poor Moses! I'm really glad you caught it early.

when does he get the treatment & when does he come home?

Posted by: Sarah on January 28, 2006 12:22 AM

because we caught it so early, my vet feels as if we don't have to act that fast. right now, i'm not even scheduled to bring him in to confirm the diagnosis until feb. 11th, though i think i'm going to call monday and see about moving that up. the treatment isn't scheduled yet. dr. miller put the brochure for the treatment center in the mail to me so i'll see that soon, and that should tell me how many days he has to stay there.

one advantage to all of this is that it's accelerating his weightloss, which is something dr. miller said we can take advantage of for a little while. moses is down to 15.7 lbs now, i think, and i think normal for him is around 12-13.

also, they x-rayed him on wendnesday, and dr. miller commented that his joints actually look pretty good. despite his limp, the arthritis hasn't progressed that far.

Posted by: lisa on January 28, 2006 09:31 AM

Poor Moseman! Lucy and I will be sending good thoughts (although Lucy vocalizes hers). I'm glad you live where specialized treatment is available.

Posted by: Stephanie on January 28, 2006 01:42 PM

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