Super Contributor
Posts: 455
Registered: ‎08-27-2010

Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

My 15 yr old snowshoe was diagnosed with it yesterday. I was given the option for a pill or going to a compounding pharmacy for a gel. I chose the gel since I have a 10 month kitten who gobbles her food and tries to eat the other cat's food. I didn't want to have to worry about the kitten getting the meds.She's determined and won't give up.


Has anyone used this gel? The vet says it absorbs better than a pill.I have pilled cats before so it's not that big of a deal. I just thought the gel would be easier.

I would appreciate any thoughts on pill vs gel.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,457
Registered: ‎09-06-2014

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

I hope the gel will help your cat feel better.  I've had cats for many years - the oldest lived to be 19.  The cat I have now is affectionate but doesn't like to be picked up or held much so it would be hard to give her any meds.  Good Luck!     Cat Happy

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,152
Registered: ‎05-02-2017

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

Hi Pembroke,


Please note that the pill and the gel are only temporary relief for symptoms--the only permanent cure is radioactive iodine therapy. Some cats may not respond well or in a timely fashion to these pill/gel medications.


I used the pills with my cat at first to stabilize--very easy to administer as I just put a pill in a lump of soft food and put it in my cat's throat. My mother had used the gel on her cat--may not be quite as strong as the pill and some fur may start falling out.


Unfortunately, the disease progresses with pill and gel and the cat will just get more ill and more thin.  


If the cat is older, a thorough vet exam is a good idea to ensure there are no other issues, such as kidney problems. 


Although costly, I strongly recommend the radioactive iodine therapy--the only 95% effective solution. The cat must be isolated for a few weeks but in the end, normal weight, eating and sleeping habits should return.  


Hyperthyroidism  in cats has become more common due to increased age of animals' lifespans and chemicals in canned food.


There have been other discussions on this topic on previous QVC threads.


My thoughts and best wishes are with you and your fur baby.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,599
Registered: ‎03-30-2014

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

I had a dog with congestive heart failure that needed nitroglycerin ointment put on the inside of her ear.  The only reason it worked was because she was 4 pounds of mean and no other dog or cat went near her.


So I would question whether the other cat would lick it.  It that would true, you need to go with pills.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 183
Registered: ‎03-18-2010

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

I’ve used both, but I prefer the pills. I just put it in a little ramekin with a crushed temptation treat and she eats it easily. She’s not easily pilled otherwise. The ear gel is easy, but more expensive and you have to make sure not to get it on your skin. I used to cut the fingers off nitrile gloves. No biggie. It did seem to build up on her ears so I had to clean her ears more often. You also might have to think about your other cat licking it from their ears. My girl is 18 btw. Good luck! 💗

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,842
Registered: ‎07-03-2013

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

My boy was around 15 when he had the same diagnosis.  I chose the gel, but it didn't work.  He went back and forth to the vet for blood tests.  After a year, he was switched to pills.  The pills didn't really work either.  He made just shy of his 18th birthday, then passed away in his sleep.  I didn't give the radio active option much thought.  I think that turned out to be the best option.  

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,697
Registered: ‎07-07-2010

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

@pembrokeour Trixie, who we estimate is about 17, is on the transdermal.  Or, she was.  It is a very convenient way to get her meds.  Unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with liver cancer, and our vet has taken her off the meds.  She is actually doing better, at least for a while.


If you decide on pills, they are much less expensive than the transdermal.  


I have had two cats diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and they were both older.  If I had a young cat diagnosed, then I would go for the radioactive therapy.

The next time that I hear salt and ice together, it better be in a margarita!
Super Contributor
Posts: 435
Registered: ‎03-25-2010

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

Please ask your vet about the RadioCat treatment.  Its the iodine radiation one.  You can google it for more information.  Yes, initially its expensive but compared to the medication and quarterly labs, it will pay for itself in no time.  I tried using the gel ($47 per month) and caught my other cat licking it off my old cats ear.  There was an almost immediate change.  She had it done in January.  Since then she has gained 5 pounds and the vet says she is cured.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎03-05-2018

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

my 2 big boys who are now over the bridge, both had hyperthyroidism; one at 15 and one at 16.  they both got a portion of a pill in a pill pocket every day. they loved the pill pockets so never a problem to get the med in them.  they were well maintained on the pills to the end.

Super Contributor
Posts: 455
Registered: ‎08-27-2010

Re: Elder cat with hyperthyroidism

A big thank you to all that answered.We had a 10 year old cat that was diagnosed back in the 80s with hyperthyroidism.We went the iodine treatment with her since she was young. It was a success but very costly then.I can only imagine the cost now. 


We also had another cat diagnosed and he was pilled. He lived to be 22 so I believe  that was also a success.


I noticed the gel seems to be working immediately.He has calmed down and gone back to his easy going self. No restless routines and constant vocalizing for food.He found a paper sack and spent most of Sunday sleeping.He appears to be eating fine too. So I have hopes for the gel. The good news is that I can always switch to the pill if needed. 


The vet said he had one of the best health panels of a 15 year old cat he seen in some time.Good numbers on kindneys and relieved about that. I want the ole boy around as long as possible. 


Thanks againCat Very Happy