Visiting the Vet – Hyperthyroidism

Lady Jessica isn’t feeling too well.

09:50 July 13th, 2017.

Jessica Louise is a 14-year-old cat that normally lives happily outside. But in recent times ‘Jessie’ has become very thin despite constantly eating and has now preferred to be inside the home even accounting for the fact of there being dogs in the house.

Jim’s pretty certain that he is looking at a cat with a hyperthyroid thyroid gland. No question that a blood test is needed and the blood sample is taken without delay.

The results are soon back and confirm that Jessie’s T4 readings of >8.00 mg/dL are very high, indeed beyond the upper limit of their testing equipment. Jim explains that the normal range for T4 is between 0.80 – 4.70 mg/dL.

The puzzled look on my face is seen by Jim and he takes a few minutes out to explain what a blood test accomplishes.

There are three parts to the blood test:

  1. The Complete Blood Count (CBC), that is the cellular part of the test.
  2. The chemistry of the blood, measuring the condition of the kidneys, liver, electrolytes, diabetic status as in blood glucose level, and more.
  3. The optional Part, a test for T4 Total Thyroxine level.

A very quick web search found this from which one reads:

Your dog or cat’s T4 (Total T4) is a useful screening test to detect an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) in dogs or an over-active one (hyperthyroidism) in cats. But total T4 levels are a considerably more accurate way to diagnose an overly active thyroid gland in your cat than an under-active thyroid gland in your dog.

Jim prescribes Methimazole. Once again, back at my desk a quick web search for Methimazole For Cats finds:

What is Methimazole?

Methimazole is used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats. It has largely replaced propylthiouracil in this treatment process since it has a lower incidence of adverse side effects. Methimazole requires a prescription from your veterinarian, and is sold per tablet.

(This is only one of many products found online!)

Jim weighs Jessie and finds that she is 4lbs 12 oz. Her weight should be in excess of 8 lbs.

The clinic protocol is that Jessie should not be seen until at least 45 days has elapsed. But Dr. Jim underlines that Jessie should be brought back in to the clinic before then if there is no weight gain soon or, especially, if Jessie continues to lose weight.

10:05 All done.

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)


Good people, may I ask for your assistance.

Best explained by sharing part of a recent email sent to Yvonne D. who has offered her help with my book project. In past times, Yvonne was a Veterinary Technician.

Dear Yvonne,

My Visiting the Vet theme on Learning from Dogs has awakened within me the interest and passion to write my second book. Or, to put it more accurately, to switch away from the present theme that I have been struggling to get stuck into for months.

I spoke with Russel Codd at the clinic and he is really keen to support me.

The overall idea that is forming in my mind is to write a book that alternates, chapter by chapter, between observing the medical and clinical goings-on at a number of vet clinics in town, including specialist processes, surgery, cardiac, etc., and chapters that look deeply into the many different relationships that individuals have with their pets; primarily with dogs and cats.

I want to get into the ‘mindset’ of people who have pets in their lives across the whole range of feelings of those said people. From those who love their pets practically without any limit, to the homeless people (almost 100% men) whom one sees with a dog or two in tow alongside the highway. But also exploring those who seem so hateful. E.g. our pet sitter knows a man who threw his elderly dog away in some local woods. What causes someone to be like this? I want to find out!!

The book will be called: Of Pets, and Of People.

With very kind wishes,


Copyright (c) 2017 Paul Handover

Any feedback at all would be fabulous! What would you like to see in such a book? What would you most definitely not want to read?

20 thoughts on “Visiting the Vet – Hyperthyroidism

  1. I would definitely be interested in all of the subject matter, Paul. The way people feel about their pets is of special concern. Why do some go above & beyond while others toss them away? You have an excellent book idea.


  2. Yes, getting a sense of the people’s attitude to their pets is important. Are we seeing a shift towards better care (scheduled vet care visits, dietary consideration, excersise), or is there a shift to poorer care (increased emergency vet visits, poor diet, lack of exercise) as a general trend.
    While I see plenty of stories about rescue animals and good Samaritans, there seem to be some horrendous stories of animal abuse out there too.
    Both reflect on society and are a pretty good indicator of how good we are as a society. It is often said that a person who abuses an animal, will pretty soon abuse another person.

    I like to think that humanity is getting kinder, but news events don’t show that. It would be great to see what our veterinarians think?


    1. It does look as though I will be able to take time visiting a number of vets aiming to find some common ground with regard to what they, as a profession, think. Very grateful for your views.


  3. You have some great ideas for your next book, Paul 🙂
    One more thing to have in mind, is the economic crisis, which in Spain where I live, have costed many animals their families and life. If people can’t feed their kids, the animals will leave the house in one or another way. Sad but true.
    I would like to read your book.


    1. Irene, when it becomes a book (but don’t hold your breath) a review copy will be mailed to you there in Spain. Plus, another important topic: How pet owners deal with such tragic circumstances of not being able to afford their animals.


      1. Thank you so very much, Paul 🙂
        Mostly people here in Spain don’t have same kind of feelings for animals, as we have. Dogs live often in the gardens all their life, to take care of other two-legged with bad ideas about stealing or something worse.
        In other parts of our world, there are many tragic circumstances, when people can’t afford to feed their animals or what else are demanded.
        Here people set their animal free away from their home and tell them to find a new home by themselves……….
        I have found both death and alive dogs here…


  4. Susan, Colette and Irene, quick reply to say how grateful I am for your ideas and support. Will respond more later; just about to do the Monday morning bike ride with the others.


  5. A book like this could perhaps also touch on how animals need security from their guardians. People tend to forget that our domestication has made our pets very dependent on their guardians. I know for you, (and many), this is commonsense, but the amount of times I’ve heard, ‘it’s a dog, it can eat anything: it’s a dog, they have fur coats for freezing weather: it’s a dog, it likes to sleep all day. ‘ These people really have no empathy with animals and should not have pets. I don’t know how that can be approached in your book (without sounding sanctimonious), but there really are a lot of people who should have some sort of suitability testing before being granted the right to be a guardian of a sentient being! (Should really apply to having human children too…but that is an entirely different subject)😄


    1. Colette, brilliant! I, too, wouldn’t know how to approach said persons but that won’t stop me trying! Even cycling around the local roads I see dogs being ‘looked after’ in many different forms. I’m minded to call in and introduce myself and seek to listen and learn more. But I anticipate being offered introductions to some of the customers of the clinic. If this book is to work it has offer an accurate insight into the good, bad and the indifferent of pet ownership.

      Once again, thank you!


  6. Of Pets and of People sound like a great title Paul. … and insiders view on of how veterinarians take care of pets and their people. Some thing like that. I would definitely enjoy it, and appreciate the caring and the wisdom here 💛


  7. Poor Jessie is very thin and her folks waited a bit long before getting her to the vet. But these things have a way of creeping up on an owner that has no idea their pet has something seriously wrong.

    Nice photos here. And yes, I do think your book has merit. I think it will resonate with people very well. I think you should proceed full speed ahead.

    (One) of the major symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats is a change in behavior and generally that change is abnormal behavior for the animal. In her case she switched from wanting to be outdoors and away from dogs to wanting to be an indoor cat.

    Hyperthyroidism in one of my cats crept up on me as well. It happened after my husband died and I was not as observant as I should have been. I was able to keep her going for about two years after starting treatment. There are other methods of controlling the disease and those will be included when I post on my blog. (Now in draft form)

    One correction is the Yvonne D. was not a vet tech. I’m retired as a registered nurse having worked most of my nursing career at a VA hospital for 35 years. My daughter is a veterinarian and I have a bit of an advantage since I have been around sick folks and I’ve had my own rescue for many years. My daughter helps me with good advice. Being a nurse does help to know the meds and the symptoms.

    I have in draft form hyperthyroidism in cats and hypothyroidism in dogs I have cats now with the disease and I’ve had dogs with hypothyroidism. The drafts have not been finalized because of all the illnesses in my family this past 17 months. I’ve been too tired or too busy to work on the many drafts in my blog. I really hope that I can get back to putting out information on my blog. In the meantime, I continue to read and enjoy and comment on good blogs such as yours, Paul.


    1. Yvonne, what a fabulous response. There’s no question in my mind that reaching out to you, and your vet daughter, as well as many others, will be invaluable. Yes, I am totally committed to getting stuck into this next book. Next up is me drafting out the key sections of the book and the objectives of those sections. Thank you so very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Send loads of well wishes to Jessie the cat and her peeps. Totally love the idea about the new book idea. I’m personally vested in learning more about epilepsy in dogs so would be super interested in that. And while there are aspects of health issues that are so intense we may not want to read about them, it’s ‘impawtant’ to provide people with info. Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows and we must be prepared for all eventual prospects. Cheers!


  9. First of all, I hope that Jessie soon puts on some much needed weight and feels more like her old self..
    Second that Book by Yvonne sounds she could well be onto a winner.. And probably the reason she was stuck on her writing was because the subject was not resonating.. Seems like a good topic for investigation.. Though as an animal lover I would not want to read too many horrendous accounts of cruelty in detail, but it is what happens,, Lots of bad things which we can not hide from.. But Yvonne is right, there are two types of people.. Those who love Pets and those that hate them..
    Our old cat the last one we rescued was from a lady whose new boyfriend did not like cats.. She had had her cat for 7 yrs yet gave the cat away to the cat sanctuary.. I am afraid if it had been me the boyfriend would have been the one shown the door lol
    So many horrendous acts in the UK were reported last year involving horses being killed and I will not go into details but they suffered before dying.. And no one was caught.. You wonder if it the Lack of love within them, that these people feel the need to inflict pain on animals.. Its like those who hold dog fights, and badger bating.. I will never get my head around the cruel things we humans do.. Not only to animals, but to our own kind..
    I often wonder is there something missing within them, as we hold compassion, and empathy with others,.. So I for one would be interested in finding answers..

    Many thanks for sharing Paul


    1. Sue, I do have you down for a telephone call one day because you are someone whose views I want to listen to.

      I’m preparing a short list of questions that I will email to you ahead of our conversation. Plus, with your permission, I will record our call. But it won’t be for a couple of weeks at least.

      The book is certainly under way now!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.