Evy and the Case of the Over-Active Thyroid



Just 2 short years ago in February, I brought my cat Evy to Snelgrove Veterinary Services to have Soft Paws put on her nails (she can be grouchy and I didn’t want to declaw her). This was a completely routine visit until the technician came up to see me and said she felt a lump in Evy’s throat. I scheduled an appointment with a doctor who recommended we run some blood tests. Upon receiving the blood results, I was told her thyroid level was very high.

The normal range for a cat’s thyroid is 10-60 nmol/l and Evy’s thyroid measured 90 nmol/l. The diagnosis – Hyperthyroidism.

Evy’s (and my) choices were; daily medications for life, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.  Radioactive Iodine, also known as I-131, is a radioactive isotope of iodine used to attack & destroy abnormal thyroid tissue.   I opted for this treatment as the odds of curing, not just regulating this condition, were much better. It wasn’t as invasive as surgery and there were no known side effects. There are not many specialists available to administer this treatment and although there is a clinic in Toronto, they could not accommodate Evy. A flood had put them behind in treatments.

In the meantime, we put her on Tapazole, a medication to help regulate the thyroid.  This did not go well. Not only was I getting frustrated fighting to give Evy a pill every day, she began vomiting and had to be taken off the medication. The doctor then recommended a special food that can help regulate a cat’s thyroid but Evy was such a picky eater, she wouldn’t touch it.   

In March, one month after diagnosis, we found a clinic in London, Thames Valley Veterinary, that had immediate availability for radio-iodine therapy.  They had us re-test the thyroid level, at Snelgrove Vet in Brampton, prior to going and Evy’s level was 192.3 nmol/l!  My poor girl!  I was so shocked by the number and felt so bad for her.

We arrived in London on a Saturday morning in April and we were checked in. Upon seeing the doctor, we were told, because of her extremely high thyroid level, she would require a full week’s worth of treatment. Another lady was there at the same time, and her cat’s number was only in the 90’s.  She was able to pick up her cat in 4 days!!!

Evy survived the week and Jane, a wonderful staff member from Thames, stayed in constant contact via email with me.  She was very patient and answered any questions I had, no matter how small or insignificant they seemed.  She even brought out the soft side in Evy. Evy constantly sought out Jane’s affection during her stay. Jane stayed in contact over the next year, checking in on Evy and reminding me when to re-check Evy’s T4 levels.

This year Evy’s numbers started to climb again (only 2-4% of cats require a 2nd treatment), and we were sent back to Thames for a no-charge “booster” of the I-131.  Despite her grumpiness, she settled right in once again.  The staff was amazing with her and Thames has stayed in constant contact since. It has been wonderful to deal with them, and I, personally, would happily recommend them and the radioactive iodine therapy.

Evy has not required any oral medications since before her radio-iodine therapy 2 years ago.

If your cat is hyperthyroid, I strongly recommend you talk to a veterinarian and discuss the option of radio-iodine therapy.   It is not as expensive as you would think and was much easier on Evy and I.

Today, she’s as happy as she’ll ever be given her grumpy demeanor, and well taken care of. 

Thanks for reading,



Breed Spotlight ; Cockapoo

rudy 1

I have an 8-year-old Cock-a-poo named Rudy which I acquired when he was a puppy. A Cock-a-poo is a mixture of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. They are not recognized as a purebred.

Cock-a-poo’s make a great family dog. They have the outgoing, loving personality of the Cocker spaniel and the low shedding qualities of the Poodle. The only down side is that because they do not shed they do require regular grooming every 6-8 weeks.

Since they make wonderful family pets and they are in higher demand they are the most likely to be bred by puppy mills looking to make money. It is very important if you looking to get a Cock-a-poo that you meet the dog’s parents and you see the puppies litter mates. Some ‘breeders’ will offer to meet you in a parking lot or bring the puppy to your house – these are not true breeders but usually fronts for puppy mills. Another thing that can happen is there will be a dog broker who has the puppies but not the parents and sells the puppies from another location. Even if the puppy is cute and looks healthy often times they are quite ill – most of them have intestinal parasites, some can be so sick they require hospitalization. It is important that you do not purchase a puppy from this situation because it will encourage the continuation of this process.

I got my Cock-a-poo from someone who relinquished ownership once he became very ill. Rudy presented to Snelgrove Veterinary Services as a very sick puppy who was vomiting and had diarrhea and he was very dehydrated. He needed to be placed on IV fluids and hospitalized in isolation because he was diagnosed with parvovirus. Parvovirus is contagious and can be life threatening. The original owner was devastated since they had just picked up the puppy and had not yet had a chance to form a relationship, they did not want to continue to pay for an ill puppy that had the possibility of dying. Rudy needed to be hospitalized for over a week and at one point we thought we were going to lose him but eventually he pulled through and he is now a healthy, happy 8-year-old dog.

Rudy is excellent with my kids and my other mixed breed dog, Oscar although he does like to be the alpha male. He likes going for walks, swimming and playing with his toys. We are hopeful that we will have many more years with him as
Cock-a-poo’s can live between 14–18 years.

I would definitely recommend this breed as a great family pet.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Jessica Ioannou

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

In support of Animal Health Week, last night we hosted our annual Teddy Bear Clinic. We had a great turn out! Children of all ages had the opportunity to use many of the tools required in veterinary medicine to do a thorough physical exam of their stuffed animal. We would like to thank Dr. Jessica Ioannou and Danielle for doing such a great job with the kids and a big thank you to all the parents that took the time out of their busy schedules to bring the kids in. We hope they had as much fun as we did and hope to see everyone again next year.