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9 month old kitten with suspected hyperthyroid

KellieN

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1. Your pet's name: Selene
2. Approximate age: 9 months
3. Sex: F
4. Neutering status: intact
5. Breed: DS tux/tabby
6. Approximate weight: 5.6 lbs
7. What's their BEAM (behavior, energy, appetite, mood) restless, pacing, caterwauling often, will also play normally, sleep and cuddle, sweet to me but increasingly aggressive with anyone other than myself and my two children. Overgrooming significantly on legs, tail, etc. Unkempt fur on other areas that aren’t being over groomed. Eats about two cans per day, but has continued losing weight. (From 7 lbs, down to 5.6 since November.)

8. Diet: she has scratched her ears/face/chin area since the day she found us in a parking lot when she was approx 8 weeks old. No fleas, no mites per vet exams, so I suspected food allergies. She has always been on grain free food, but I am now doing a diet for her of only canned 97% rabbit or a combo of canned rabbit/mice. She has been on this for approx 4 weeks. Tried a mouse only diet for around 2 weeks, she could eat up to 10 small ones per day, but the fur from them coupled with her over grooming was causing too many large hairballs so I stopped.

9. Vaccination history / exposure to toxins, other medication: no vaxxes, I was put on NP thyroid myself for an under active thyroid shortly before her hyperactive symptoms started. She was very interested in my armpits and was always trying to lick/nuzzle/etc and I know I excrete some of this thyroid med there as the scent has changed significantly. I can’t help but feel like this exposure was some kind of catalyst and the timing lines up perfectly.

10. Primary problem, when it began and if there was anything else happening around that time:
She started with heat cycles around 11/8. She started seeming more restless, but I thought it was a result of the hormones. She has continued to seem restless often, caterwauling, over grooming to the point of bare spots on her legs and progressively thinner fur on underside of tail, losing weight, becoming less tolerant of other people and not tolerating the vet whatsoever, etc. Again, looking back this all started after I had been on my NP thyroid for a month or so and she had become very preoccupied with my armpits vs not anyone else’s at all.

11. Is the condition better or worse from exercise, heat, cold, time of day, certain foods, emotional upset, being touched, excitement, etc? Consistent, but again, with anyone other than the 3 of us who live in her household, she immediately hisses and has gotten far more aggressive.

12. Has any diagnostic work been done? Diagnosis if available (you can attach your diagnostic tests to the post if you have them.)

We went to the vet yesterday to attempt bloodwork to test her thyroid levels as her holistic vet feels as I do that it is thyroid.
I am still pretty unsettled from the visit and questioning returning there as they took her, knowing I’m the only person she is calm with and she isn’t feeling well, and they fought her for almost 40 minutes without letting me come in. What i heard was wild. The vet and tech were not able to ever get blood, and their only answer is to sedate her to do so. It was extremely traumatic for her, her heart was racing for an hour after, I am still pretty livid to be honest.
I’d like to try Holistic/homeopathic options for thyroid first to see if that settles her enough to do the bloodwork without sedating her tiny body.

13. Current and previous treatment.
14. Other health concerns.

I went to book a phone consult but they were all at least a week out. I’m just not sure how dire this is?

@Dr. Jeff
@Dr. Christina
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hey Kellie!

Welcome to HA! and thanks for making your first post.

Selene is one lucky kitty for you to be living with her seasonally poly-estrus behavior.

Back in the 80s, I was awakened many times by kitty guardians who thought that their caterwauling (from cycling) female kitties were in heat!

increasingly aggressive with anyone
Overgrooming significantly
These things are clues that she is energetically imbalanced and that her "screaming" may be more than just from heat.
Tried a mouse only diet for around 2 weeks
Wow! Where did you find a mouse diet to feed Selene?
they fought her for almost 40 minutes without letting me come in.

Oh boy, I'm super sorry to hear this. Yes, this may not be the cat friendly or "Fear Free" practice that you need.


I’d like to try Holistic/homeopathic options
Yes! :snowman: ?

I’m just not sure how dire
How dire did the vet think it was?

Personally, I don't see many dire problems in baby kitties this age.

Perhaps try frequent (at least 4x a day) dosing with Stress Stopper until you can schedule a visit with a trained vet homeopath:


@Dr. Jean Hofve, as a cat expert, do you have other thoughts to share with Kellie?
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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I don't think there has ever been a documented case of hyperthyroidism in a cat under 7 years old. In a 9 month old kitten, something else is going on. As Dr. Jeff said, her behavior is most likely due to estrus (heat) which explains pretty much all of it.

Unless your thyroid meds are topical and she is licking them, that's not a cause.

May I ask why you have not spayed her? Intact females tend to be pretty stressed out a lot of the time.

BTW, "fear free" practices get to be that way by using... sedation.
 

KellieN

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I don't think there has ever been a documented case of hyperthyroidism in a cat under 7 years old. In a 9 month old kitten, something else is going on. As Dr. Jeff said, her behavior is most likely due to estrus (heat) which explains pretty much all of it.

Unless your thyroid meds are topical and she is licking them, that's not a cause.

May I ask why you have not spayed her? Intact females tend to be pretty stressed out a lot of the time.

BTW, "fear free" practices get to be that way by using... sedation.
The vet we were seeing has a preference to wait until a year old to spay, so that was why we were waiting. My only hesitation with doing it right now is that she is so under weight (having lost 1.5 in the last couple of months going from 7 lbs to 5.6) and I just wonder if she is strong enough for surgery like that? Is sedation for blood work/ a spay still safe even if a cat is in the state she is in?
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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My concern would be that she won't improve othewise. BUT...

Her diet is also a big question for me. I wonder if she's not digesting properly. Rabbit in particular is low in fat and taurine, which could be affecting her coat as well as how she feels. If this is plain canned meat, rather than a rabbit-based, complete cat food, that is not a balanced diet.

Perhaps go to a good quality canned cat food for now, just to build her back up. We can transition back to raw/homemade or whatever is your preference later. If she does well and gains weight, then she'll be ready for surgery.
 

KellieN

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2582C9F5-E8FF-4B48-9621-C9CF7E9CA0D1.jpeg
My concern would be that she won't improve othewise. BUT...

Her diet is also a big question for me. I wonder if she's not digesting properly. Rabbit in particular is low in fat and taurine, which could be affecting her coat as well as how she feels. If this is plain canned meat, rather than a rabbit-based, complete cat food, that is not a balanced diet.

Perhaps go to a good quality canned cat food for now, just to build her back up. We can transition back to raw/homemade or whatever is your preference later. If she does well and gains weight, then she'll be ready for surgery.

9308F9D1-BF14-43BB-9DCF-79F5884E0AE1.jpeg
 

KellieN

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Thank you for your reply. I posted the nutrition labels for both of the canned foods she is currently eating. Due to suspected food allergies I have her on this limited diet, but as far as I know these are good quality formulas?
Please let me know if you feel they aren’t. Options are quite limited when focusing on rabbit/mouse only, and these are the only ones I’ve found.
 

KellieN

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Thank you for your reply. I posted the nutrition labels for both of the canned foods she is currently eating. Due to suspected food allergies I have her on this limited diet, but as far as I know these are good quality formulas?
Please let me know if you feel they aren’t. Options are quite limited when focusing on rabbit/mouse only, and these are the only ones I’ve found.
I do agree that she needs to be spayed as soon as possible, and I am quite regretful I took the advice I did and didn’t do it sooner in the event it has caused all of this for her. I’m not sure of any other ways that I can bulk up her weight to get her ready for surgery and still follow the diet she is on?
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Those look fine, they seem to be balanced. Is she not eating very much?

It is extremely unusual to find food allergies in such a young cat. Why do you suspect that?
 

KellieN

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Those look fine, they seem to be balanced. Is she not eating very much?

It is extremely unusual to find food allergies in such a young cat. Why do you suspect that?
She eats approx 2 of the larger (5.5oz) cans per day, give or take a little. So it feels like she’s eating an adequate amount? We feed her as much as she will eat. She also gets some freeze dried lamb treats each day because of having to get her to take CBD/Bach/whichever tincture she’s needing.

From the first day she found us (I was in Atl for holistic cancer treatment, she appeared in a very dangerous parking lot out of nowhere at around 8 weeks old and the rest is history) she has been itchy. No fleas, squeaky clean ears and no mites, nothing the vet could find. But she has scratched her ears/face/neck area very frequently to the point of losing fur on her face near her ears from scratching so much. Also when she grooms certain areas she does so in a way that seems as if she’s very itchy, doing a lot of the biting and stopping suddenly to groom there feverishly. It seemed to intensify if she had any fish or chicken, and she got to the point of not eating the different forms of chicken that she once loved almost as if it made her feel unwell. So the vet and I talked and he said we should do an elimination diet for a while to see. It has been around 4 weeks of this diet.
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Wow she is quite the little challenge! Bless you for taking such excellent care of her!

The skin stuff is a whole 'nother issue, I'm sure the other vets will have suggestions too, but for that I like omega-3 EPA/DHA oil. (Green-lipped mussel would be good to avoid potential issues with fish, which contains histamines).

Fleas can still be an issue, even when you don't see them. Be sure to maximize your flea control both indoors and out--especially in heavy-duty flea country like the southeast. A single flea bite can produce a horrendous reaction that lasts for weeks. When I lived at the beach in CA, I would sit on the patio and *watch* sand fleas hop right in past the screen door. They are sneaky little devils and a massive challenge to prevent.
 

KellieN

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Wow she is quite the little challenge! Bless you for taking such excellent care of her!

The skin stuff is a whole 'nother issue, I'm sure the other vets will have suggestions too, but for that I like omega-3 EPA/DHA oil. (Green-lipped mussel would be good to avoid potential issues with fish, which contains histamines).

Fleas can still be an issue, even when you don't see them. Be sure to maximize your flea control both indoors and out--especially in heavy-duty flea country like the southeast. A single flea bite can produce a horrendous reaction that lasts for weeks. When I lived at the beach in CA, I would sit on the patio and *watch* sand fleas hop right in past the screen door. They are sneaky little devils and a massive challenge to prevent.
We’ve had her since last July ? so honestly it has been one mystery after the next.
I will get the green lipped muscle and try that.
I have MCAS and a terrible flea allergy, so I’d for sure know if she had them. I’m a medical delight kind of like she is proving to be. Haha

So essentially at this point we just need to figure out how to get her to gain weight for the spay, get the sedated bloodwork to prepare for the spay, and then have it done. Is that what you think?

Are there any suggestions on things to add to her food to put weight on her since I don’t think we can increase the amount, as she seems to be eating all she can? Most things I find online have a lot of junky ingredients and I didn’t know if there’s one you as a vet likes? And aside from the CBD, Bach rescue for pets..anything to calm the heat symptoms until I’m able to bulk her up a little?

I appreciate the help! I’m a single mother caring for myself through cancer and I spend so much time researching things for my cat, but I’m feeling very overwhelmed as I just want to help her get better ?
 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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? Gosh you two seem almost made for each other!!

I guess it's one tiny bit of luck that you are such a good barometer for fleas, since that is always at the top of the suspect list of skin symptoms!

Yeah I think you about summed it up quite well, though of course much easier said than done!!

The extra oil may help with her weight, though be careful because too much will cause diarrhea. The only other way I know to gain weight is to increase carbs. Not ideal for a cat, of course. If I had to pick, based on what my cats have liked over the years, organic baby food sweet potatoes or carrots might be good. What was she eating before? If it had much carb at all, then her super-keto diet could account for at least some of the weight loss. Stress from itching would also contribute, poor baby!

You might want to try the green-lipped mussel oil for yourself too, very nice for the immune system!

I don't know any way to turn off those hormones, usually we want to replace the ones we took out! Maybe others have ideas?
 

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