I was asked to do an update on my Radiocat post and my Radiocat Changed Mind post from April 2010. In April 2010 I learned my 15 year old cat had hyperthyroidism. He would run around the house like a maniac cat and lost so much weight that I was afraid he'd die from just being so skinny. I had just moved and went to a new vet close to my house. The vet recommended the Radiocat procedure which cost $1000. After getting a second opinion I decided not to do the radiocat procedure.
My second opinion came from a doctor that had a more holistic approach. She explained my cats health was 3 parts, the heart, thyroid and kidneys. Since the thyroid was working overtime, the kidneys didn't have to try as hard. It was possible, but not a guarantee, to fix the thyroid could throw Nugget into kidney failure. The vet's approach was to balance the three.
We first adjusted his food to a high protein diet. After another blood test the results weren't what she wanted to see and I went to medicine. I started with a compound medicine that a compounding pharmacist (not Walgreens/CVS) mixed into an ear formula. Twice a day Nugget got "greasy ear" and he didn't like it. I learned about pill pockets and successfully administer his pill twice a day with his "treat". His disposition mellowed, he slept "normal" hours (4am requests to be fed were considered normal but not welcome by me) and he put on weight.
In June or July 2011 I helped out my parents and brought their cat into my home for the summer. I believe this was the start of the spiral of Nuggets health. The stress of having another cat caused him to not eat and quit eating his pill. Even after the guest cat left, Nugget's health didn't improve and in October I had the vet come to my house and put him to sleep. It was a miserable decision to make but his quality of life and his happiness indicated it was time.
I had an additional 1.5 years with him after my non-radiocat decision. I've often wondered if that was the right decision. It's possible it could have been shorter if I had radiocat done and he went into kidney failure. The $1000 was a non-decision point because I probably spent close to that with blood, urine, medication and vet visits. Plus, doing radiocat follow-up blood/urine tests still need to be done. My decision was made with the vet who considered what was best for the pet and me. The first vet I saw made me think he had an investment in Radiocat.
If you need to make the decision, unless you love your vet, get a second opinion. A second opinion can help you make a better educated decision. What recommendations fit your values and what life do you want to give your cat? There is more than one way to approach an issue and if you sit with the decision in silence, you'll make the perfect decision for you and your cat.