The thyroid gland is the only organ in the body that uptakes iodine. Radioactive matter suspended in iodine will only be absorbed by the thyroid gland, this damages the ‘unwanted’ thyroid cells which in turn reduces the thyroid gland in size and reduces the amount of Thyroxine (T4) produced. Within time the T4 level within the cat’s body will return to a normal range.
As the majority of cats we treat with Iodine 131 are older your vet will run tests to check your cat’s kidney function as sometimes hyper-thyroidism can mask failing kidneys. Once we know this is ok we can book your cat in. Ideally this pretreatment blood test should be taken before stopping medication
You need to stop giving medication at least 14 days before we can begin Iodine 131 treatment. Once we have a date for the treatment we will advise you when to stop giving the tablets.
Your cat will be injected with the radioactive iodine; this injection is given under the skin much like a vaccination. The waste from iodine will be excreted from the body via urine, faeces and saliva. We keep the cat in our isolation unit for 7 days until their level of radioactivity is safe for you at home. We have safety guidelines and regulations when dealing with these cats to keep our staff safe also.
After 7 days your cat will return home. We will give you a handout of some things that you need to be careful of for your personal safety. It can take several weeks for your cats’ appetite to decrease and behave less ‘hyper-thyroid’!! After 1 month we like to re-test your cats T4 level to see that it is returning to a normal level.
Vet follow up;
If you are not our regular client please get your cat checked 1 month after returning from treatment. Your vet will want to check the thyroid hormone levels as it can take up to 4 months for the treatment to normalize thyroid hormone levels. This therapy is very effective, with an up to 97% success rate.
What does it cost?
We carefully calculate the dose given to your cat based on your cat’s thyroid hormone levels, clinical signs and size of enlarged thyroid gland. The current cost of this treatment, including hospital care is $800 for 7 days.
Can I visit my cat?
Unfortunately this is not possible due to health and safety regulations. We are however happy to provide updates on a regular basis. Most cats settle in very quickly.