DEAR DR. FOX: My male cat's blood work came back with an elevated thyroid result. My vet says it's hyperthyroidism, and many of the typical symptoms are there. If a specialist confirms the diagnosis, what is your recommended treatment? Do you like the radioactive iodine procedure? What will be best for my cat long-term? I know he would not like getting medicine for it every day. -- S.N., Fort Myers, Florida
DEAR S.N.: Sorry about your cat; it really is an endocrine disease epidemic. Check my website for details -- DrFoxVet.com.
There is a new prescription diet available to help control this disease, which your veterinarian could try out and see if there is any improvement before resorting to radiation destruction of the cancerous and hyperactive gland. After radiation destruction, your cat will need thyroid replacement hormone medication on a regular basis.
As an alternative to radiation, you may want to opt for the transdermal daily medication of methimazole (Tapazole) applied to the cat's ear and absorbed through the skin. Discuss this alternative and the possibility of the new prescription-diet approach with your veterinarian. Your cat will need blood tests to adjust the dose of Tapazole, with special attention if his kidneys and heart are not functioning well and if he has high blood pressure -- two of the many other problems associated with this disease.
DEAR DR. FOX: Two days ago, my 50-pound Samoyed was playing with my border collie, and she moved in such a way that she yelped. Since then, she has been in obvious pain. We go for our walks, although much slower. Her left hip hurts her, and she lifts that paw and it shakes.
Would it be all right to give her a low-dose aspirin? -- M.G., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DEAR M.G.: This could be a serious ligament tear involving the knee joint, the first signs of hip disease such as arthritis or dysplasia or simply a minor sprain that will heal quickly.
Whatever it might be, I would seek an immediate veterinary consultation. If you are financially compromised, give your dog one buffered aspirin with food once a day for three days -- and then stop. Allow the dog no exercise, including no running, playing or even jumping up or onto a sofa. If there are signs of the dog getting better, maintain the restricted activity for three to four weeks and cut back on food, especially if she is already overweight.
Massage the affected area, too, as per my book "The Healing Touch for Dogs." You can give her up to a half-teaspoon daily of good-quality fish oil, turmeric powder and ginger in her food, and a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement should also help. If she does not improve under this regimen, she really should see a veterinarian for a diagnosis and specific treatments.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)