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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 41522
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 18 yr old cat is always ravenous, eating 5 packets of

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My 18 yr old cat is always ravenous, eating 5 packets of food a day plus dried food but losing weight and is quite skeletal and with moth eaten fur, his breath smells too.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know if the cat will be able to digest that. What is the cat's name?
Customer: Buster
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Buster?
Customer: Starting poo ing outside the dirt box.

Dr. Michael Salkin is typing. Please be patient.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Buster. Regrettably, he's either diabetic, hyperthyroid, or both. All diabetics are also drinking excessively and forming more urine than usual. Only 35% of hyperthyroid cats are drinking excessively and forming more urine than usual. Buster's vet will want to perform a complete physical exam including diagnostics in the form of fasted (at least 4 hours; never restrict water, however) blood and urine tests. Imaging in the form of X-rays (chest) and/or ultrasound (abdomen) may be recommended predicated upon findings in the previous exams.

Diabetic cats are insulin-dependent. Hyperthyroid cats can be treated with both oral or transdermal methimazole, a special diet, and/or radioactive iodine therapy. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thanks, that's really helpful. At his great age I am reluctant to put him through lots of tests and medications, I would not say that he is drinking excessively, may be a bit more than usual. What is the prognosis for a diabetic or hyperthyroid cat of this age?

Thank you. I believe that he's surely hyperthyroid +/- diabetes mellitus. A properly treated hyperthyroid cat who also has his blood pressure managed has a normal life span although I must admit that at Buster's advanced age, every day's a gift.

Untreated, he'll be lost to cardiac thyrotoxicosis - too much thyroid hormone increases the heart rate to the point of heart failure. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thanks again, we think that perhaps his time is up, we don't want to put him through any traumas and will visit the vet once it is obvious that he has had enough. At the moment I feel he has a little bit longer (we are experienced cat owners)

You're quite welcome. I understand your pragmatism. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.