Thursday, June 28, 2007

A reader in the comment section in one of the recent posts below included a link to some good information about hyperthyroid condition in cats, and yes, it does mention the vomiting that can be a side effect of the medication.

I spoke to the vet yesterday, and she said Hamilton's thyroid tests had come back in the high normal range this time, showing that the medication was likely working. Now the trick is to be able to keep him on it without him throwing up. He has been keeping his food in fine for the past few days, so we've started him back on half doses of meds twice a day, and we'll see what happens.

The vet said that if we can keep him on the meds for three to four weeks, they can then do some tests to determine if his kidneys will be strong enough to handle the iodine irradiation treatment. Our ultimate goal is to get him that treatment if it won't endanger him. Poor guy! He's snoozing on the floor right now. His coat and weight do seem improved, though, don't they?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Well, I'm going to cheat a little here and post one of our Honorable Mention Reader Photos for June. It's a few days early (our issue featuring the winner and other June stories is scheduled to come out on July 2). But it was about time to get some dogs up here! So, below is our first Honorable Mention for June, submitted by Linda Damato, who works at the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Canine Development Center.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We're currently waiting for news on Hamilton's latest round of thyroid test results, and hoping we'll be told he can have the iodine shot. For now, it's been nice having a few days, at least, without any veterinary bills!

In the meantime, we're still caring for Fiona and Duncan, my mother-in-law's two Scottish Folds. Here's a picture of Fiona enjoying some fresh air in the kitchen window.

It's amazing how this little cat, the youngest and smallest of the five currently in this house, is determined to claim the entire place as her territory. She has been systematically jumping into the favorite spots of the other cats and trying to claim them as her own. I think our cats are mystified. She's completely unintimidated, even by 17-pound Tribbs!

I realize that I have only been posting cat photos here, but the fact is Our Place to Paws should be about all kinds of animals! The problem is, we currently only have cats in this house (I so want a dog!). If anyone would like to send in their dog photos, we need them both for this blog, and for the Our Place to Paws Web site.

We are also looking for stories/essays for our Cats vs. Dogs contest on the site, which so far no one is taking part in! Folks, there's a gift certificate waiting just for you if you'll send in your stories and get the contests going! Our email is

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The continuing Hamilton saga

Yesterday we took Hamilton to the Fresh Pond Animal Hospital to review his hyperthyroid situation and try to figure out why he'd been throwing up for 24 hours. They rehydrated him, gave him some pecid and took another round of blood tests (these vet bills add up, don't they?).

The doctor thinks the hyperthyroid medication might be causing him to have a sick stomach. So we've taken him off the medication for now and he's on a bland diet of I/D cat food (which he promptly threw up when we got home) and baby food (which he seems to finally be keeping in over the last 24 hours).

Happily, the test results seem to indicate that his kidneys are OK. So at 12 years old, Hamilton might indeed be a candidate for the iodine irradiation treatment, which is a good thing if he can't stay on the meds. We're gearing up now for that news, and to prepare for the procedure if he can have it.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, just after writing the above, I went upstairs and found Hamilton stuffing himself with the dried Science Diet we had left out for one of the Scottish Folds, without properly locking him behind closed doors with it. This is the problem with having five cats in the house, all on different diets. We'll see if the Science Diet stays in Hamilton's stomach today! Thank goodness we just bought a new battery-operated carpet spot remover!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe...

Just when we were feeling pleased that Cali doesn't need surgery (at least not now), we were brought back to reality with Hamilton, the 12-year-old cat who is dealing with hyperthyroid condition.

Hamilton had, until this morning, been doing extremely well on his medicine. He's been taking it like a champ twice a day, and we could tell he was gaining back some weight and his coat was looking a lot shinier. Yay! We figured his vet appointment tomorrow would be a cheerful update, with more information about whether or not he's a candidate for the radioactive iodine procedure that could cure him completely.

Well, this morning Hamilton...there's no pretty way to say it...threw up all over the house. Not once, but many times. I've been walking around cleaning up little piles for much of the morning (I know many of you pet lovers out there know what that's like). We don't know if he's reacting to the k/d diet they have been trying to put him on (he had only that food today) or if the new medicine is starting to have some of the side effects they predicted could happen.

Again, if anyone out there has experience with this condition and its treatments in cats, we'd be happy if you posted some comments on this blog.

The appointment is tomorrow...we'll see what happens!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What the vet said...

I just spoke to Dr. O'Bell at Angell Memorial. They feel that it's not an emergency to recommend open-chest surgery for the white area on Cali's lung. There's no way to tell if it's cancer, but it's small at this point and might, just might be even slightly smaller in the last set of x-rays. So we're going to stick with the plan of waiting a month or so to do another set of x-rays and see where we stand.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

X-rays are on their way

I sent copies of Cali's x-rays to Angell today. They'll arrive tomorrow, and hopefully the board certified radiologist and oncology department there can help shed light on whether or not surgery is a good idea.

For now, it's a waiting game!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hamilton continues to do well on his new meds, and we're waiting to learn if he is healthy enough to go through the iodine injection procedure. Again, anyone with experience related to his condition (hyperthyroid) should feel free to add some comments!

It turns out we've got more cat health problems to deal with in the house -- how is it that you can go for years with no problems, and suddenly things seem to happen all at once? Cali, the cat on the right in the picture above, who is about 10, recently went through a variety of tests at an emergency animal hospital when she appreaed sick early one morning, hiding behind the couch (she left two days later with no real diagnosis and feeling fine, and has had no symptoms since). An x-ray of her lungs at that time revealed a mysterious white area that no one has been able to diagnose. An x-ray one week later at the same hospital revealed virtually no change (they thought it looked slightly smaller but weren't sure) and an x-ray about six weeks after that at our regular vet again revealed virtually no change (again, perhaps slightly smaller). At that point, we decided to wait six months to do another x-ray, and were somewhat reassured that it was not likely to be cancer (an esophogeal wash revealed no cancer cells...don't ask how much all this all cost!).

But recently, deciding to get one more opinion because Cali is so dear to us, we went to Angell Memorial, a top hospital in Boston. The vet there, who was wonderful, didn't see the x-rays, but just saw Cali and talked with us. She suggested that we bring her the x-rays so she and their board certified radiologist can take a look. If it is a primary lung cancer tumor, since Cali is asymptomatic, this vet felt it might be early enough to catch it and cure her if she undergoes surgery.

What a dilemma. The surgery is invasive and has its own risks, and is very expensive (but if it will save our cat, we'll pay it). It's a lot to put the cat through if it isn't cancer. Yet there is no way to KNOW if it's cancer without either doing the surgery or an almost equally invasive biopsy.

If we decide not to do the surgery, or if we wait to wait too long before the next x-rays (there is no way to know how long is too long), if it IS cancer we could be endangering her life.

Right now the plan is to get a third opinion on the x-rays next week at Angell Memorial, and then to do another x-ray in 1-2 months instead of 6 to see where we stand before making a decision.

Whew...any thoughts out there?

Friday, June 15, 2007

How to comment on our blog

A number of readers have asked how to add comments to our blog. Simply click on "comments" below any post, and a field will come up that will allow you to add a comment you can then ask to be saved onto the blog. You don't have to be a blogger member to do it! We look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hamilton is already starting to do better, as you can see from his healthy appetite. He eats on top of the refrigerator so we can keep his food away from our other cats, who would happily down it all before Hamilton has a chance.

Karin, in her comments below, is right. Surgery is one of the options for hyperthyroid treatment, but apparently now there is something else (besides a lifetime of medication) -- a single injection of radioiodine. The procedure can cure most cats completely, but it does require being hospitalized for 1-2 weeks and it's as expensive as surgery. We're hoping Hamilton will be a candidate once they determine if he is otherwise healthy (no kidney disease). Fingers crossed! It won't be the first time, or the first time this year, that we've pulled out the credit card for veterinary bills!

I'll keep trying to get a discussion going -- has anyone else had experience with this treatment?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 3 on the hyperthyroiod meds

Hamilton seems to be doing well on the hyperthyroid medication. He seems a little tired for a while after he takes it (right now he's snoozing in a little ball next to the desk). But other than that, he seems fine. We're hoping that all of his other tests will come out alright and he'll be able to have the iodine treatment that could cure the condition. Having him on medication for the rest of his life will be challenging otherwise.

Has anyone else out there had experience with a cat with this condition, or with the medication or treatment options? We're hoping to get some more comments going on the blog -- thanks to Karin, who commented below, for starting our discussion!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our cat has hyperthyroid condition

Hello, Our Place to Paws is back...we hope you're enjoying the new Web site.

Just before our vacation, we learned that one of our cats, Hamilton, has hyperthyroid condition. He'd gone down from his normal nine pounds (he's the skinny one in the family) to only seven pounds and I've been really worried about him. He's at the vet now with J., who is finding out our next steps.

Has anyone out there dealt with this condition in a cat? Any ideas or thoughts?

Friday, June 1, 2007

We'll be back next week!

Our Place to Paws is taking a break for a one-week vacation. We'll be back and blogging on the week of June 11. Have a great week!

Two Scottish Folds who live with Judith D., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Fiona, left, and Duncan