If Missy is hyperthyroid and you've decided to treat it with Tapazole, known in its generic form as methimazole, you can choose how to administer it. Some people opt for the traditional pill, but others have success with the gel. Missy's preference is often the determining factor.
How Methimazole Works
It's common for middle-aged and older cats to develop hyperthyroidism. The condition is caused by an overproduction of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland in the cat's neck, usually due to a non-cancerous tumor called an adenoma. Methimazole treats the disease by reducing the amount of thyroid hormone produced. Medication does not cure hyperthyroidism, but it does keep it under control so that Missy can lead a normal life. Methimazole is available in two forms: pill and a transdermal gel.
The pill form of methimazole is given one to three times daily, depending on the cat's thyroid hormone level. It can take several weeks for the hormone level to return to normal and you'll have to have Missy tested regularly to see where her levels are in order to ensure she's getting a proper dose. She'll have to take the pills the rest of her life. If the medicine is discontinued, her thyroid will return to its previous high levels in a few weeks' time.
If Missy runs every time she sees you coming with her medicine, chances are you're having a difficult time getting her medicated. Methimazole is also available in a transdermal gel form, which can be applied to the hairless tip on the inside of her ear. The gel will be absorbed into her bloodstream, where it will work as the pill would to lower her thyroid hormone level. If you elect to use this method, you'll have to wear latex gloves or finger coverings to ensure you don't absorb the methimazole. You'll also have to make sure to alternate which ear you apply the gel to, so her ear doesn't become irritated or get a buildup of medicine. As with the pills, your cat will need this treatment for the rest of her life if she is to remain healthy.
The Right Choice for You
Methimazole has potential side effects no matter how it's administered. These include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever. Regardless of how you administer it, methimazole as treatment for hyperthyroid means a lifetime commitment, unless you decide to use it as a temporary option until Missy can have surgery or radioactive iodine treatment. She'll also require routine blood tests to make sure the medication is working properly and check her kidney function.
- Cornell Feline Health Center: Hyperthyroidism in Cats
- Veterinary Information Network: Veterinary Partner: Medication for Hyperthyroidism
- The Cat's Meow Feline Veterinary Clinic: Feline Hyperthyroidism
- Washington State University: Hyperthyroidism in the Cat
- Stafford Pharmacy and Home Healthcare: Patient Consulting Services: Methimazole Transdermal Gel
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