Vidalta for Cats - For cats with hyperthyroidism
What is Vidalta?
Vidalta tablets for cats contain the active ingredient, carbimazole. Vidalta medication is licensed for the treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats. Vidalta is a POM-V (Prescription only medicine) category medicine that is only available with a written pet prescription from your vet. Online pet pharmacies are only able to supply this medicine upon receipt of the valid prescription.
How does Vidalta work?
As mentioned, Vidalta contains carbimazole. After carbimazole is absorbed, it is converted to an active form: methimazole. Methimazole stops the enzyme responsible for the production thyroxine from working. Vidalta tablets for cats are usually given only once daily.
What is Vidalta used for?
Vidalta for Cats is used to treat a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that tends to affect older cats (often older than 13 years of age) and is caused by an over production of the hormone thyroxine by the thyroid gland. In the cat, two thyroid glands are found in the neck, either side of the wind pipe (trachea). It is not possible to feel these glands in normal cats as they are very small and are hidden by soft-tissue structures in the neck.
In some cats, one or both of these glands will increase in size and start producing too much thyroxine. This causes cats to show a number of symptoms including: weight loss, increased appetite (polyphagia), increased frequency and volume of defaecation, increased drinking and urination (polydipsia & polyuria), hyperactivity: cats can become more agitated and restless, occasional vomiting and/or episodes of diarrhoea, high heart rates, high blood pressure which may cause problems with vision and poor coat quality.
Very occasionally, cats may show symptoms including depression, lethargy and breathing problems.
If your cat shows some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, you should visit your vet who will perform a thorough examination, take a blood sample and may arrange blood pressure testing. In the majority of cases of hyperthyroidism, the thyroxine (or T4) result will be elevated. Your vet will also usually check the renal and liver values for any evidence of kidney or liver problems before starting treatment. If you and your vet decide to use Vidalta tablets for the control of hyperthyroidism in the long term, your vet may wish to collect occasional blood samples to test the level of thyroxin within your cat’s blood stream. Occasionally the level may be too high or too low and adjustments in dose may need to be made. Your vet may also check the cat’s renal values (urea and creatinine) to ensure that the kidneys are coping well with the treatment regime. Occasionally vidalta will be used to stabilise cats for around one month prior to surgery (thyroidectomy). This is an important step and ensures that your pet is well-prepared to undergo surgery. It is important that every dose is given.
How is Vidalta administered?
Vidalta is administered orally. The medication should be kept out of reach of children and anyone handling the medication should wear gloves. In addition, vidalta tablets for cats should never be crushed up.
Vidalta is available as reddish/pink-tinged cylindrical tablets in the following strengths: 10mg Vidalta and 15mg Vidalta.
A Veterinary Pet Prescription is Required for Vidalta
Hyperthyroidism is the term used to refer to an over activity of the body’s thyroid gland, which is located in the neck and produces important hormones that regulate metabolism to turn your cat’s food into fuel. The condition is reasonably common within cats, and can occur for a variety of different reasons, as well as having a range of fairly wide-reaching negative effects on the body. Fortunately, however, hyperthyroidism in the cat can usually be managed successfully by means of medication, allowing affected cats to live a long and otherwise healthy life.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
The cat has two thyroid glands, and in the vast majority of cases of hyperthyroidism, both of them are affected by the condition. Generally, hyperthyroidism is caused by an enlargement of the thyroid glands, which usually come about due to benign tumours or abnormal developments around the glands. Precisely what causes such changes to occur is unknown, but in a very rare cases (around 1% of all diagnosis of hyperthyroidism) a malignant thyroid tumour is the cause of the problem; however, generally, hyperthyroidism is a simple hormonal imbalance, which does not have an underlying malignancy at the root of it.
Are certain types of cats particularly prone to hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism can theoretically affect any cat, regardless of their age, sex or breed. However, it is most common in elderly cats over the age of ten, and is highly unlikely to occur in cats below the age of seven.
What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats?
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in the cat can be variable in terms of their presentation and degree of severity, and so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the common indications of the condition so that you stand a good chance of spotting its development. The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats are:
• Unexplained weight loss, which is often acute.
• A hearty appetite, or increased desire for food.
• Excessive thirst.
• A tendency to hyperactivity or restlessness.
• An elevated heart rate.
• A poor condition coat, which may be dry, dull or otherwise look unkempt.
• Intolerance of heat.
• Mild diarrhoea and/or vomiting with no other obvious cause.
• While the above symptoms are the classical indications of hyperthyroidism, in some cases, affected cats may display the opposite of these symptoms, such as loss of appetite, lethargy and weakness.
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism, it is important to take them along to the vet to get checked out, and receive a formal diagnosis. Because hyperthyroidism shares symptoms with several other conditions, including diabetes and kidney problems, your vet will usually need to run a range of tests including blood and urine panels to make a definitive diagnosis of the problem.
An additional issue that can arise with diagnosis is the fact that hyperthyroidism most commonly occurs in old age, and as such, a range of other conditions may also be developing within the cat as a side effect of natural aging, making the chances of a misdiagnosis higher than normal.
Can hyperthyroidism be treated?
Once your cat has been definitively diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, the good news is that the condition can usually be managed very effectively. Hyperthyroidism cannot be cured per se, as there is no way of forcing the body to produce less of the thyroid hormones that are causing the condition, but a range of different medications are available to manage the condition on an ongoing basis.
Exactly what form of treatment your vet decides will be best for your cat can vary, but some of the most common medications and treatment options include:
• An oral medication called Felimazole is the most commonly prescribed medication for feline hyperthyroidism, and this is generally the option of choice and the most effective medication for most cats. Felimazole will usually produce a marked improvement in affected cats within just a couple of weeks, although a small proportion of cats (around 10%) do not take well to the medication, suffering from a range of side effects such as vomiting and lethargy, although these side effects usually lessen with time.
• Another option is a medication called Vidalta, which is an alternative to Felimazole, and this medication may be indicated if the side effects of Felimazole are particularly problematic for your cat, and do not lessen with time.
• For cats for whom Felimazole or Vidalta proves to be unsuitable, or for cats that refuse to take regular oral medications, surgical removal of the thyroid glands is another option, and this can remove the need for daily medications after the problem is resolved.
• A third option is treatment with radioactive iodine therapy, injected directly into the thyroid gland to destroy the tissue causing the hyperactivity. While this treatment is a one-off non-surgical solution, it can also prove very costly to administer, and may require referral to a specialist veterinary clinic, as not all general practices are able to offer the treatment.