informed consent feline hyperthyroidism notes

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informed consent feline hyperthyroidism notes

Postby malernee » Thu Nov 18, 2004 9:15 am


General Information
Hyperthyroidism is a disease of older cats, caused by excessive production of thyroid hormones. The usual cause for increased hormone production is a tumor of the thyroid gland. These tumors may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The reason these glands develop tumors is not known.
Signs of excessive thyroid hormone production include weight loss despite a ravenous appetite, frequent bowel movements, increased thirst and urination, restlessness, frequent crying or vocalizing, neglect of normal grooming, and rapid heartbeat. The effects on the heart may be severe and result in congestive heart failure and death.
Surgical removal of the thyroid gland is just slightly the most requested treatment in our practice of the options available.
Treatment with radioactive iodine is also an excellent form of therapy. This treatment, however, requires the availability of nuclear medicine facilities and isolation of the cat during treatment and has been costing at least twice as much as surgery.
When serious heart disease has already occurred, treatment with anti-thyroid drugs is used until the cat is healthy enough to undergo surgery. However, long-term medical treatment with these drugs is not always the option the client wants because the tumor may be malignant and spread to other areas during treatment and because these drugs can have serious side effects with long-term use. Daily medication also cost more than the other options if your cat lives for many years. Nevertheless, in certain older cats and cats that are poor surgical risks, long-term drug therapy may be the best type of treatment for those who cannot come up with the intitial cost of the other options

Important Points in Treatment
1. A complete examination, including blood tests and radiographs (x-rays), can be performed before surgery to be sure the tumor, if present, has not spread to other organs and to evaluate the condition of the heart and other internal organs.
2. Thyroid hormone levels can checked after surgery and during drug therapy to determine the proper replacement dose but usually this is not needed.
3. Medication: Medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot medicate your pet properly.
Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur
o Your pet has trouble breathing or swallowing.
o Your pet's signs continue to worsen.
o Your pet does not gain weight.
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