Cats have two thyroid glands in their necks that help in metabolic regulation. These glands can sometimes swell and overproduce thyroid hormones, affecting other organs in the feline’s body. This leads to hyperthyroidism, a common disease that usually affects middle-aged cats and older.
Four ways to treat hyperthyroidism are anti-thyroid medication, dietary therapy, surgery, and radioactive iodine therapy.
Vidalta is an anti-thyroid oral medication used to treat hyperthyroidism for cats. There are other alternatives to Vidalta for cats that are sensitive to any of its ingredients or have trouble swallowing tablets.
Alternatives to Vidalta for Cats:
Vidalta is an anti-thyroid medication that comes in 10 mg and 15 mg tablets. Other alternatives include:
- Methimazole can be used as alternatives to Carbimazole. It comes in tablets, liquid, and gel/cream
- Thyronorm is a liquid solution that also treats hyperthyroidism
- Felimazole coated tablets can act as alternatives to Vidalta tablets
- Methimazole gel/cream is as effective as Carbimazole tablets
What Are the Symptoms of Feline Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism symptoms may be mild at first, but they can progress with time.
Some symptoms include:
- Aggression towards owners
- Weight loss and physical weakness
- Greasy coat
What Causes Feline Hyperthyroidism?
Although feline hyperthyroidism has been on the rise for quite some time, the cause remains unclear. Possible causes include:
- An iodine-rich diet
- Surrounding environment
- Immune difficulties
- Hormonal difficulties
- Genetic abnormalities
How Is Feline Hyperthyroidism Treated?
There are several treatment options, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best therapy for you and your cat. Treatment options available are:
Anti-thyroid medications help reduce thyroid hormone production in cats. The medicine is often prescribed as a twice-daily tablet that must be given for the rest of the cat’s life.
Vidalta (10 mg and 15 mg tablets) is an oral medication that is used to treat hyperthyroidism in cats. It contains carbimazole, which reduces the excess production of thyroid hormones. It’s given once a day, with or without food.
- Occasional swelling in face and neck
Alternatives to Vidalta
Although Vidalta is generally a safe and efficient treatment, it has its contraindications. Luckily, there are a few alternatives.
Methimazole is also licensed to treat feline hyperthyroidism. It comes in three forms:
Thyronorm is a liquid solution with 5 mg of methimazole per ml. You can either have your cat consume it alone, or you can add it to a tiny bit of cat food.
Side Effects of Thyronorm May Include:
- Intestinal disturbance
- Joint pain
Felimazole coated tablets come in 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg, and 5 mg of methimazole.
Do not give this to your cat if they have any kind of liver disease, autoimmune disease, or sensitivity to methimazole.
Side Effects of Felimazole May Include:
- Weight loss
- Increased thirst and urination
Methimazole Transdermal Gel/Cream
Methimazole transdermal gel/cream can also be used as an alternative to Vidalta. It is equally safe and as effective as oral carbimazole.
The transdermal gel is usually applied to the inside of a hyperthyroid cat’s ear. Make sure you put rubber gloves on before applying the gel, as your skin can absorb it. Wash your hands immediately after you’re done.
Because this drug is not commercially accessible, it can only be purchased through a veterinary compounding pharmacy with a prescription.
Advantages of Transdermal Methimazole
- No need for an oral medication dispute
- Lower possibility for intestinal side effects
Disadvantages of Transdermal Methimazole
- Must be custom made by a compound pharmacy
- Might take longer to work
Please consult with your veterinarian before experimenting with any of these treatments.
Another treatment option is a thyroidectomy, a surgical procedure that removes one or both thyroid glands.
Advantages of a Thyroidectomy
- Simple and requires no special equipment
- Treats hyperthyroidism rapidly and can permanently cure your cat
Disadvantages of a Thyroidectomy
- Possible postoperative complications
- Anesthesia complications
Surgery, like any other treatment, is not always successful. If only one thyroid gland is removed, surgery may need to be repeated months or years later, since there are two abnormal glands. The thyroid gland can sometimes be found in an odd location that can’t be reached.
Another alternative is to feed your kitty a special diet that is extremely low on iodine so that thyroid hormones can’t be produced.
According to NCBI, moderate-to-severe hyperthyroidism could be controlled by an iodine-restricted diet.
The only drawback to this medication is that it requires constant monitoring. If your cat eats anything other than what’s prescribed, it won’t work. It’s also not recommended for normal cats to be on an iodine-restricted diet.If you have other cats in your household, you might want to consider another treatment.
Consult with your veterinarian before limiting iodine in your cat’s diet.
Radioactive Iodine Treatment
The most effective treatment option is radioactive iodine treatment. In this treatment, iodine is injected straight into your cat’s bloodstream. Radiation kills any aberrant thyroid tissue, harming no other organs in the feline’s body since it is absorbed by its thyroid gland.
It usually takes a few weeks for most cats to come back to normal hormone levels after having the therapy.
This treatment is both safe and effective, with cure rates of 95 to 98 % after a single session of radioiodine therapy.
- General blood test
- Urine sample
- Heart scan
Feline hyperthyroidism is a disease that mostly affects middle-aged cats and older. It occurs when the two thyroid glands overproduce thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroid cats are likely to experience anxiety, physical pain, aggressiveness, and more.
Vidalta is an anti-thyroid oral medication that is used to treat feline hyperthyroidism.
Alternatives to Vidalta for cats can be Felimazole (methimazole) tablets, Thyronorm oral liquid solution, or methimazole gel/cream.
There are ways other than medication to treat and maybe even cure feline hyperthyroidism. Other treatment methods are an Iodine-restricted diet, a thyroidectomy, or radioactive iodine treatment.