A couple weeks ago my neighbor met me out front for a chat. Tyler, on the left, and Tippy are very friendly cats who I enjoy visiting and taking care of when their owner is away. As you can see, Tyler is a BIG boy. He's 25 pounds of love. I'm sure he could lose a few pounds, but he's naturally a very large cat. His head is about the size of a softball. His sister Tippy is about 13 pounds and has the brightest blue eyes and softest fur you can imagine.
Unfortunately, she told me that Tyler was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We have experience with hyperthyroidism, because our diabetic cat had it too. What was very sad to me is that she didn't realize Tyler had lost nearly half his body weight. She also said he was eating ravenously. I'm still befuddled by her not realizing something was wrong, as I wouldn't think it hard to notice that a 25 pound cat is now almost as light as his sister. Both weight loss and increased appetite are classic signs of hyperthyroidism. Putting my frustrations at her lack of attention aside, I talked with her about Tyler's medications and diet. The vet put him on a prescription diet, which the owner doesn't like because the food is very expensive and it's hard for her to keep Tippy and the dog from eating it. I gave her lots of information from a well-respected vet about the shortcomings of this prescription food so that she could talk to her vet about going back to regular food.
It's been a couple weeks since Tyler started medication, so I want to check in on him. He will be lucky to not have any long-term consequences from his high thyroid levels and weight loss. He's such a big love-bug. I'm hoping his condition has stabilized and he's doing well.
One of the reasons I write about my pets' health conditions is the hope that it will help another owner with their pet. I'm always encouraging people to be mindful of their pet's condition and behaviors. It's easy to watch their eating, peeing, pooping, activity levels, and keep tabs on their weight. When you notice something has changed, give your vet a call and ask if a check-up is needed. Getting early treatment for many diseases is usually cheaper than dealing with a severely ill pet, and early treatment may prevent long-term health consequences.