Enjoy Our Fall and Howl-oween Events!
learn more

Read About her Experiences with Hyperthyroid Disease

Greetings,

Cat Dr ElviePlease allow me to introduce myself. I am a cat of wealth and taste. My name is Elvie, Doctor Elvie to be exact. And no, it is not an honorary degree. None of you bigger folk of the Homo sapiens variety would know the college I attended, nor would you be able to pronounce it in my language, so I won’t bother teaching you the inflections and grammar. You’d probably assume I was asking for food or attention. Even my ghost-writer, Dr. Brian, misses the nuances. Luckily for us he took a course in the written language of felines.

Sadly, few of my species are literate. It’s not that they can’t learn, but as with so many things, they couldn’t be bothered. Me, I take an interest in communication. (Whether or not you understand) In fact my radio show is doing very well, but don’t bother finding the station, since the frequency used is A: out of your hearing range and B: slightly illegal. It’s really just for cats, anyway.

Needy is how I would describe myself. (As would everyone else here) Hey, I deserve attention. I’m special. So special that my mommy, Dr. Uranko, took me have radioactive iodine therapy for my thyroid condition. Allow me to explain. My species seems to like getting benign tumors on the thyroid glands that produce the thyroid hormone. Since they are functional tumors, unlike in that other common furry critter around here, they produce more hormone. If you think I’m loud now, you should have heard me then.

It’s like drinking red bull, jolt, and 5 hour energy and then doing the disclaimer for auto advertisements. It’s not just behavior though. All that raising of the metabolism would get me to eat like a pig, lose weight, drink a lot and make my heart race. It can affect the kidneys, make the cardiac muscle too thick, cause rhythm disturbances, blow out your retinas and who knows what else. Hormones have so many functions that they are always discovering more.

So as Dr. Nicole explained to me, there are three options for treating this problem. I could take medicine that inhibits the production of the hormone, which could be oral or topical. This is the most common treatment, and the one we decided jointly to try, being less expensive, and since I was living at the hospital, easy to monitor. Despite that, the drugs didn’t work. So we went the radiation route, which is relatively expensive, but pretty much guaranteed to work. Of course I had to go to a specialist and be quarantined for it, but it did work for me.

I don’t even need to monitor the condition like before. Or rather, mommy didn’t need to monitor it, and I didn’t have to put up with frequent blood draws. Surgery for thyroid gland removal was a possibility. No one likes surgery, but there are two problems with the surgery. The pesky parathyroid glands are nearby and hard to isolate from the thyroid. Serious post-operative issues with electrolytes can happen with trauma to those organs. In my quirky species we have an additional problem. We can have thyroid glands elsewhere, like the chest.

Good luck finding them, even with radioisotope testing that tells you it’s there somewhere besides the neck. I’d hate to remove the wrong gland too. (We cats can also get extra ovaries. Aren’t we stinkers?) Radiation and medicine could work no matter where the tumor was, but surgery wouldn’t necessarily. I’m glad we didn’t do surgery. I’d hate to risk my beautiful voice, too. Although that could have made some people around here happy, I suppose.

Anyway, my advice for all you felines out there is to get some screening blood work here and there, especially once you are seven. We aren’t all symptomatic, and it’s nice to catch it early before it starts damaging your other organs, and who knows what else you might find. Yes I know you hate getting needles in the throat, but think about it. It’s worth it.

I’ll try to think about something about the lesser species around here, but I’m late for a nap. Thanks to Dr. Brian for translating for me. He refused to write the column unless I let him quote the Stones. Goof ball.

Dr. Brian G'Sullivan graduated from the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine earnining a DVM degree. He has been in practice in eastern Pennsylvania since 1997 and is trained in CO2 laser surgery.
Dr. Brian G'Sullivan is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned a DVM degree from the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. He has been in practice in eastern Pennsylvania since 1997 and is trained in CO2 laser surgery. Dr. G'Sullivan, his wife Lisa, and their son Austin, have three cats, one dog and raise exotic chickens and enjoy knitting.