Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

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mangocat
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Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by mangocat » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:48 am

My 15 year cat has lost so much weight in the past two years because of thyroid issues. He use to whine constantly for food and water but after I started giving him medicine from the vet and feeding him low phosphorus wet food, he's hasn't come begging me for food and water. In the last week I noticed his belly is a bit round and firm and sticking out on the side like a pregnant cat. It isn't too pronounce right now much it's noticeable. He acts very normal. My mom says he's just gained weight and says he'll start acting different if he's sick. I'm worried its fluid build up or a tumor. The roundness is under the belly and on the sides. When I pet him his spine is still poking out because of his weight loss. I'm worried to take him to the vet because he's been doing so well lately and I hoped I'd have another five years with him. Should I wait another week and see if it gets any bigger significantly or do I need to see a vet right now? I've tried researching this online but get so many different results. I've hadn't had good luck with vets. The vet that did give him his medicine was very nice but the clinic she works at I feel wants to make money and poke my cat with a lot of tests rather. I've been to another doctor who made me cry there because he didn't care about my cats. Scare me to death when I got a new cat about the diseases he could possibly have and already started talking about putting him to sleep! The kitty ended up being a very healthy and active cat.

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fjm
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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by fjm » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:48 am

I think you need to find a vet you can trust and take your cat soon. It may well be that he is beginning to fill out - the boniness is lost muscle, which takes longer to recover - but it sounds from your mention of low phosphorus food that he has kidney issues as well as hyperthyroidism, and he may need close monitoring and regular blood tests to get the best possible balance of medication. Have you considered other options for treating the hyperthyroidism? Radio-iodine treatment is very effective but very expensive, but the traditional thyroidectomy has a good success rate and is more affordable.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by Kay » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:55 am

it could be a fluid build up through heart failure, which is not uncommon in older cats, regardless of other conditions

the vet should be able to check this very easily and it isn't a big deal for excess fluid to be drawn off, and kept at bay with diuretics, so don't think the worst yet

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by mangocat » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:07 pm

Went to the vet today. They took an x-ray and drew out the fluid which was over 7lbs worth. They think it's lynphaic fluid which could be cancer. The vet wants to do more blood work which I declined at the moment because the drawing out fluid plus getting his shots was really traumatizing to him. The vet told me they had difficulty with him and he bit and scratched them which he never does. She said it was a sign he was in pain in his stomach area. Fluid will build up she says and probably nothing they can do about it. My mom tells me I need to think about end of life care. My cat still eats, drinks, goes to the bathroom normally. I don't want him to be uncomfortable. I adamant about not wanting to put him through a lot of tests and surgeries. I really would like advice on what to do.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by Kay » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:42 pm

I had this problem just over a year ago, though without the HT complication

my 17 year old Tiffany had a very swollen belly although she was very bony - she could hardly get through the catflap, which is what made me take her to the vet, where a load of fluid was drawn off - because she had had a heart murmur for years the vet thought it was heart failure, but the fluid came back within 48 hours, despite diuretics, and obviously she couldn't have fluid drawn off every other day - so although I never saw any signs of her being in pain, and she ate and toileted normally, when I rang the vet she thought there was probably an underlying and incurable cancer and that the fluid, as well as making her uncomfortable, would soon make her struggle for breath

so the same day the vet came to my house and Tiffany went permanently to sleep without any fuss or distress, and managing a good end for a much loved pet is something we should be ready to do when we know it is time - it may be you are near making that decision, and I feel for you

but you love your boy and you will be brave for him

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by mangocat » Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:10 am

Kay wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:42 pm
I had this problem just over a year ago, though without the HT complication

my 17 year old Tiffany had a very swollen belly although she was very bony - she could hardly get through the catflap, which is what made me take her to the vet, where a load of fluid was drawn off - because she had had a heart murmur for years the vet thought it was heart failure, but the fluid came back within 48 hours, despite diuretics, and obviously she couldn't have fluid drawn off every other day - so although I never saw any signs of her being in pain, and she ate and toileted normally, when I rang the vet she thought there was probably an underlying and incurable cancer and that the fluid, as well as making her uncomfortable, would soon make her struggle for breath

so the same day the vet came to my house and Tiffany went permanently to sleep without any fuss or distress, and managing a good end for a much loved pet is something we should be ready to do when we know it is time - it may be you are near making that decision, and I feel for you

but you love your boy and you will be brave for him
Thank you for your reply Kay. The vet said the fluid will come back quickly. This all seems so sudden and happening so quickly. I didn't think I would have to deal with this for another couple of years. It's more difficult because he acts so normal so I selfishly think he's okay but the vet says the fluid does put him in pain. This is my first cat and I've never dealt with anything like this before. I love him a lot. Thank you, I will have to do a lot of praying over this.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by Mollycat » Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:50 am

So sorry for this tough news Mangocat. It's a time that always comes too soon, whether our furry friends are 5 or 25 years old, and it's always feels so sudden even after years of managing a condition.

I know it's not much comfort that a cat's natural life is more like 12 years, so the 15+ we have become so used to that we expect them and more are really bonus time and we should be grateful for it rather than feeling cheated in some way. But cats are so good at hiding their illness and pain, and we are so good at blocking out the small signs or explaining them away to ourselves as "just a bit tired today" or "feeling her age a bit" that we still end up in shock when it's undeniable.

You have the vet on one side pushing you one way, your mum on the other pushing you the other way, and you are looking for the right path somewhere in between. I sense you know what you want but you are afraid of being wrong? They do say advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.

My first girl lived with mild kidney failure for 8 years, by which time she was 16 and I believed she would see 20 and more. She became ill overnight, although in truth she had been slowing down for a year or more, and I knew she would need help at the end because kidney failure is painful and uncomfortable. I was so scared - everyone said I would know, but how would I know? What if I got it wrong? What if I let her suffer, or cut her life short? What right did I have to rob her of her birthright as a wild animal, a natural death? Was the timing right for her, or for my convenience?

I planned ahead, I decided what physical signs would tell me her time was over - when she stopped eating, stopped drinking and became restless. I thought through all these questions logically - if a natural death was painful, and I had the option to let her go peacefully and free from pain, then what right did I have to deny her this relief. It's ok to ask yourself these unacceptable questions, in fact it's important. It will help deal with the inevitable guilt later when they all come up again in the past tense - did I call the vet too soon or too late, did I let him suffer too long, was there a miracle cure we could have found with tests? By the way, it is perfectly ok if the timing takes your convenience into account. Say you were booked to go on holiday, and your cat was terminally ill but not quite ready, it is ok to see them safely off to the Rainbow Bridge before you go. Or a Friday to give you the weekend to fall to pieces. They will forgive you because they know you love them and want to do the best by them. It isn't selfish, it's practical and it's ok.

You don't have to have more tests if you feel it's not right for you and your cat. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should, and we must never feel guilty about giving the best care for the cat, and sometimes the best care means love not medication. I refused a medication for my girl because a pill daily for the rest of her life would have damaged our relationship, and there was no sense in making her life a little longer and a lot more miserable. It's ok to say no to what the vet suggests. It's also ok to prepare but to give yourself and your boy the time you need to adjust to the idea and to say goodbye properly.

Remember, a cat doesn't get hung up on days, months and years. All a cat knows is, I feel fine, or I feel unwell. I am comfortable, or I am in pain. The concept of length of life is a human cross we have to bear.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by fjm » Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:54 am

I am so very sorry, Mangocat. Mollycat has said it all so well - you never get used to saying goodbye, and every time you hope for the miracle, for a few more months, weeks, or even days. But there are ways of making it just a little easier. Writing a list of the things that make up your cat's quality of life, deciding just what would make his life miserable (pain, not eating, not being able to go outside...) and planning ahead can help.

I think you are right not to put him through the upset of further tests at this stage - if there were a good chance of a cure, or even slowing the cancer down, it would be different, but from what you say your vet thinks it is already too advanced for that. And I know you love him so that, when the first shock is over, you will make your decision based on what you believe to be best for him. But take a little time, see how long it is before the fluid builds up again, ask your vet about the most likely diagnoses and the prognosis, so that you know what to expect. If he is eating and toileting normally, and is happy to be stroked and held, then any discomfort is not yet extreme and there is time to think and plan and come to terms with this new reality.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by mangocat » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:37 pm

Mollycat wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:50 am
So sorry for this tough news Mangocat. It's a time that always comes too soon, whether our furry friends are 5 or 25 years old, and it's always feels so sudden even after years of managing a condition.

I know it's not much comfort that a cat's natural life is more like 12 years, so the 15+ we have become so used to that we expect them and more are really bonus time and we should be grateful for it rather than feeling cheated in some way. But cats are so good at hiding their illness and pain, and we are so good at blocking out the small signs or explaining them away to ourselves as "just a bit tired today" or "feeling her age a bit" that we still end up in shock when it's undeniable.

You have the vet on one side pushing you one way, your mum on the other pushing you the other way, and you are looking for the right path somewhere in between. I sense you know what you want but you are afraid of being wrong? They do say advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.

My first girl lived with mild kidney failure for 8 years, by which time she was 16 and I believed she would see 20 and more. She became ill overnight, although in truth she had been slowing down for a year or more, and I knew she would need help at the end because kidney failure is painful and uncomfortable. I was so scared - everyone said I would know, but how would I know? What if I got it wrong? What if I let her suffer, or cut her life short? What right did I have to rob her of her birthright as a wild animal, a natural death? Was the timing right for her, or for my convenience?

I planned ahead, I decided what physical signs would tell me her time was over - when she stopped eating, stopped drinking and became restless. I thought through all these questions logically - if a natural death was painful, and I had the option to let her go peacefully and free from pain, then what right did I have to deny her this relief. It's ok to ask yourself these unacceptable questions, in fact it's important. It will help deal with the inevitable guilt later when they all come up again in the past tense - did I call the vet too soon or too late, did I let him suffer too long, was there a miracle cure we could have found with tests? By the way, it is perfectly ok if the timing takes your convenience into account. Say you were booked to go on holiday, and your cat was terminally ill but not quite ready, it is ok to see them safely off to the Rainbow Bridge before you go. Or a Friday to give you the weekend to fall to pieces. They will forgive you because they know you love them and want to do the best by them. It isn't selfish, it's practical and it's ok.

You don't have to have more tests if you feel it's not right for you and your cat. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should, and we must never feel guilty about giving the best care for the cat, and sometimes the best care means love not medication. I refused a medication for my girl because a pill daily for the rest of her life would have damaged our relationship, and there was no sense in making her life a little longer and a lot more miserable. It's ok to say no to what the vet suggests. It's also ok to prepare but to give yourself and your boy the time you need to adjust to the idea and to say goodbye properly.

Remember, a cat doesn't get hung up on days, months and years. All a cat knows is, I feel fine, or I feel unwell. I am comfortable, or I am in pain. The concept of length of life is a human cross we have to bear.
Thank you Mollycat. Your post was really a great comfort to me. Yesterday my cat suddenly stopped eating, crying, drinking water having difficulty going to the bathroom and walking. These were the signs I told myself to look out for and be ready to make the decision. I made an appointment with the vet and will be saying goodbye tomorrow. I was able to spend another month with him which I feel very blessed with have been able to.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by Mollycat » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:57 am

We will be thinking of you both today Mangocat and wishing you both peace to bring your time together to its end. I hope that his ninth life this past month has been good for you both, it can be such a beautiful and precious time if we are strong enough to cherish it for what it is. Take good care of you in the days and weeks to come and carry your furry friend's love safe in your heart for ever.

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Re: Hyperthyroidism and swollen belly

Post by fjm » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:58 am

My thoughts are with you today, Mangocat. I'm glad you have had this precious month together, and hope in time the good memories bring comfort.

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