Words on Wednesday ~ How Y/D Works and Other Facts About Hyperthyroidism

Some of my friends have asked about my y/d diet so I thoughts I would try to explain. At this time only ONE company makes y/d food and that is Hills Science Diet. I will not touch the dry but will eat the canned. But I do get tired of eating the same thing every day.

The y/d controls my thyroid by restricting my iodine intake. IMPORTANT
Because iodine intake from other food sources -- treats, another pet's food, etc. -- can compromise the effectiveness of low-iodine nutrition, it's critical that you follow your veterinarian's feeding instructions carefully and feed only y/d.

So no I can't have anything but my y/d food.

There are other treatments for hyperthyroidism. First I want to tell you the sings of hyperthyroidism because  it is increasingly common in older cats.

  • Weight loss
  • Usually a good or increased appetite (polyphagia)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased activity, restlessness or irritability
  • An increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • A poor and unkempt hair coat
Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism has important consequences on the heart, causing increased heart rate but also changes in the muscular wall of the heart that will eventually cause heart failure if untreated.. My dear friend Abby had heart complications due to hyperthyroidism and has gone to the rainbow bridge.

Treatment options

The most commonly used and effective anti-thyroid drugs belong to a group known as thioamides. When I was first diagnosed I took methimazole and it worked great. Alas I stopped eating and they discovered my bone marrow was suppressed. This is a VERY RARE side effect. I can no longer take the medicine. I wants to try to explain they don't know that the medicine caused the bone marrow suppression, because the biopsy of the the bone marrow showed I has Feline Lekumia. But I was very ill so they don't want to risk me taking the medicine again.

Surgical thyroidectomy- they don't do this anymore.


Radioactive iodine therapy - I might have this. It would be $1,200 and I would have to go to Louisianan to have it done @ LSU. I would be in isolation and away from Mom & Dad. 


The radioactive iodine is administered as a single injection, usually simply given under the skin. The iodine is taken up by the active (abnormal) thyroid tissue, but not by any other tissues, resulting in a selective local accumulation of radioactive material in the abnormal tissues. The radiation destroys the affected abnormal thyroid tissue, but does not damage surrounding tissues or the parathyroid glands.

There are no significant side-effects with this treatment, but because cats are temporarily radioactive they have to be kept hospitalised for a short period after treatment as a precaution. Unfortunately, because this treatment requires handling of radioactive drugs it is also only available at certain centres.

A single injection of radioactive iodine is curative in around 95 per cent of all hyperthyroid cats, but following treatment occasional blood tests are recommended to ensure normal thyroid hormone levels are being maintained.

The treatment option we are using right now is Dietary treatment and is relatively NEW. The plan is to keep me on the y/d diet until I am off the steroid I am taking. Once I am off it we will evaluate how well the y/d diet is controlling my hyperthyroidism and decide if I want to pursue the radioactive iodine therapy or stick with the y/d diet.

Hopes I wasn't too boring. Socks reporting for ATCAD


  1. We're glad to see you spreading the word about this. There's a lot of people who don't understand hyperthyrdoidism, and so many cats have it. We lost a cat much like Angel Abby, only it was after a radioactive iodine treatment, so the head peep has spent a lot of time looking into it. The 95% effectiveness number they throw around is one that they don't reveal is not necessarily after one radioactive iodine treatment. When our Rhett's I-151 treatment was not fully successful, the specialist told us that in their experience, nearly half of cats needed a second treatment for full effectiveness.

    Unfortunately for us, Rhett had been with uncontrolled thyroid for over a month by the time (weeks before treatment to clear the drugs from his system then weeks after before the followup) they told us that and was going into heart failure from the effects of hyperthyroid, so he wasn't a candidate for a second treatment, even if the family could have afforded one.

    So we're glad to see that Y/D might be another option for some cats. We don't think that profit-driven veterinary specialists are always straight about the I-131 effectiveness beforehand, since their story changed after treatment, and knowing all of your options is a very good thing!

  2. That was a ridiculously long comment, sorry. One more thing... we aren't totally anti-I-131 (we got banned from from a popular blog for trying to discuss this once upon a time, so we wanted to be clear!). We just think that vets push it really hard without always revealing the truth about its effectiveness, and people should have all the facts before they make medical decisions for their cats. Ask lots of questions!

    There's a blogger in the blogosphere who had human I-131 treatment I hope may chime in. Surprisingly, it sounds like the information is sometimes muddled for that, too.

  3. Sometimes, Cats Herd You, thank you so much for your comment. We are trying to find out as much as we can to help in the decision making process. the radioactive iodine treatment is uncharted territory for our vet as she has never had a client who has undergone it. So we both are trying to learn as much as we can about it. Your comment has been very helpful.

  4. Looks like you have a spam comment for the first comment. :-(((

    My Admiral ultimately passed away from this as well as hypercalcimia. I am grateful Socks, that you told everyone the symptoms. I wish I had known them before Admiral got so bad.

  5. I have to say I agree with Sometimes, cats herd you!

    I do not know a whole lot about Feline leukemia, but I think I can tell you a few things that might be helpful to you.

    First: Keep him on wet food! Cats need a lot of water in their diet! And dry food is only 10% water! But wet food is about 72% water! And cats need about 68% of water in their diet! So wet food is good for them.

    Second: I would keep him in side forever now. You don't want him getting more sick,or lost or spreading the disease.

    (My first Ragdoll named Tadpole got feline leukemia:-( He was kept outside due to the fact that he was unhappy. But I NEVER gave him a Feline Leukemia shot. Because some Ragdolls are allergic to the shot! And there have been times when Ragdolls have died from it! So I wasn't gonna take any risks! But he was also not declawed,so he did fine outside. But he also passed away in 2005. He was about 14 or 15 years old. I miss him so much!!).

    I really hope this helps! Sorry if you got bored or if this wasn't a lot of help.

    Lots of hugs, Ragdoll Mommy~

  6. Thanks for this post, I had no clue how dangerous hyperthyroidism can be for cats. I cross my paws that all things go well.

  7. My old boy kitty, Mr. Kitty had his hip joint and hock destroyed by a varmit 7 years ago (possum or racoon) on a Sunday. My vet said take him to LSU Vet School for emergency treatment. They put him back together with tiny plates and screws on his hock. Lopped off top of femur and stitched up muscles and ligaments....and a first for them a month of on site physical therapy.

    I cannot say enough good things about the LSU Vet School. My now 14 year old Mr. Kitty walks without a limp and still jumps the 4 feet to ledge on screen porch to sun himself.

    If you decide on LSU - be confident that they will do miracles.

  8. Katie Isabella, we removed the spam comment. Thanks for pointing it out.

    We thinks hyperthyroidism is very hard to spot early. I mean who thinks having a good appetite is a problem. We were very lucky we spotted Socks' as soon as we did. and we should have added that without the blood work, we wouldn't have known because the only symptom he had was increased appetite. He looked fine otherwise and passed the physical the vet gave him.

  9. Mrs B, thank you so much for sharing your experience with LSU. It makes us feel much better knowing they did such a good job for Mr. Kitty.

  10. Ragdoll Mommy, Socks drinks plenty of water. so that isn't a problem for him or Scylla. I really like cat fountains as that does seem to encourage them to drink more water.

    Dry food is good for cleaning a cats teeth. Feeding a mixture of wet and dry food is good for your cats.

    Socks can only eat the y/d food now.

  11. Thank you for mentioning Abby. I am ever so grateful ... but I wanted to chime in and say you are absolutely right about spotting hyperthyroidism There is NO way in my case at least that I can point to anything that would have made me think Abby had anything wrong. Other than chalking things up to her age which would have been perfectly natural. Now I see the importance and oh how I regret this and for the first few week beat myself up so badly about it, that I didn't take her in every 6 months for blood chem check ups. I can't undo that now but it is a horrible lesson learned going forward. You are wise to learn as much and be as educated as you can about I-131 treatment. Because it does seem like they don't tell you everything you need to know beforehand. Just sayin....that was my experience too with Abby about her condition.

  12. Um... Actually dry food has been said to help clean their teeth.but actually it doesn't work.

    And yeah I agree with you about the dry food with the wet food. But I don't feed it to my cats.
    'Cause it makes their stomach upset:-(

    What do you feed Scylla?

  13. oh I didn't know about this,xx Speedy

  14. Scylla eats Iams® ProActive Health™ Adult Indoor™ Weight & Hairball Care It has fat-burning L-Carnitine which has been key to helping Scylla lose weight. She eats a variety of canned catfoods.

  15. Oh I see. Good for pretty girl Scylla!

    Will you please go see my blog??? I think Star is sick and needs purrs!!! :-(

    And do you know ANY info on cat UTI's?!?!?!


  16. Oh I almost forgot.


  17. Thank you Socks for explaining what you have and the different treatments possible. That was not boring at all! Are you kidding? First, we want to know what our furriends have and second it is very impawtant to know the symptoms to recognize them if they appear.
    Please let us know how your treatment goes and if you decides on the radiation option. We will keep on purring for you.

  18. Great and informative post, Socks!

    Our Angel Sammy had hyperthyroidism, and we went with the methimazole route. WE were lucky in that it worked very well for the final three years of his life.

    My best friend at work had the radioactive iodine therapy for his cat, and she is cured and doing terrific now.

  19. socks...dood...knot boring buddy, we iz thanx ful for de info....N we can understand it two !! hope yur day iz goin good N seer ee iz lee...sorree bout de hole mackerull thing..~~~

  20. Thanks for comin' by. And yeah we heard about Brain......Poor guy:-(

    Nico had a UTI. But he's a lot better now:-)

    Healing purrs for Brain and Socks!

  21. Thanks for all the information about hyperthyrodism!

  22. Thanks Socks. Brofur Buddy Budd has hyperthyroid and is on medication. Thanks for this information on other options

  23. YD scares me for the little amount of animal product in it. The dry food has no meat in it at all, and only some animal fat, but other than that is mostly plants, which is so foreign to a cat's digestive system as to be an issue.

    It is nice that it is an option for those cats who can't peruse other avenues of care, but it still concerns me.

    1. We understand your concern. Our vet wasn't gung ho about this treatment option, but it was the only choice we had once he couldn't take the pills. She keeps a close eye on his bloodwork which she is very pleased with and he acts like a much younger cat, these days. The food has been very good for him.


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