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Wadestown Veterinary Clinic & Cattery
1 Grosvenor Tce, Wadestown, Wellington | PH 04 472 2012

Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Feline Thyrotoxicosis

Please click here to download a referral form for treatment of feline thyrotoxicosis with radioactive iodine (I131).

Upcoming Radioactive Iodine (I131) Treatment Dates

Wednesday 27th October 2021
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Tuesday 7th December 2021 (7 day stay only - if there is demand, otherwise the next treatment date will be 18th or 26th January 2022)

These dates are subject to change, however we will notify all patients booked in advance.

Veterinarians: please email the booking form with the preferred date of treatment, and we will then contact your client.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism.

RADIOACTIVE IODINE (I-131).
Is regarded as the "Gold Standard" treatment (the best).

  • Cost $770.00 for treatment and 7 days boarding or $1,070.00 for treatment and 21 days boarding, extra days are $21.50 per day.
  • Cats live an average 4 more years following treatment.
  • One treatment ONCE.

NEOMERCAZOLE TABLETS.

  • Cost for 4 years treatment from $1150.00
  • TWICE daily medicating.
  • Cats live on average 2 years with treatment. (some cats are not suitable for Iodine treatment)

TOPICAL EAR PREPARATIONS.

  • Cost over 4 years from $2800.00
  • DAILY medication required.

DIETARY TREATMENT.

  • If your cat is referred for radioactive iodine treatment, it is important that they are fed only a premium diet for at least 2 weeks prior to treatment, as failure to do so can prevent the treatment from being successful. If you have any queries about this or if your cat already has specific dietary requirements please ensure you or your vet checks with us that the food is suitable to give your cat prior to treatment. We also strongly suggest that you check that your cat is not getting food from anywhere else, e.g. that your neighbours are not feeding them. If your cat is hyperthyroid then they are likely to be seeking out food wherever they can, and may be well known around the neighbourhood. If your cat has access to non-premium foods elsewhere, treatment success is still jeopardized despite having a premium diet at home.

Common Questions

  • How is the treatment given? A mild relaxant/sedation is given orally before treatment and when they are feeling happy, the iodine is injected under their skin (similar to a vaccination).
  • Will my cat suffer side effects such as vomiting or hair loss? No
  • What do I feed after treatment? Your cats preferred diet.
  • Are there any risks with treatment? Yes, please ensure you have discussed all risks for your cat and yourself with your current veterinarian.
  • Does treatment always work? Radioactive iodine treatment is curative for 95% of cats. In the remaining 5% a second dose is usually curative.

We act as a referral clinic for this specialist treatment, so if your cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism by your vet, they can contact us to discuss treatment options.

So your cat has been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism ... here's what you should know.

Hyperthyroidism means overactive thyroid glands. The thyroid glands are situated in the cat's neck and play a vital roll in the control of the body's metabolic rate. An increased production of thyroid hormones leads to an increased metabolic rate which is reflected in the classic symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased or very good appetite
  • Increased water intake
  • Increased irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sometimes howling at night
  • Sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Unkempt coat

The clinical signs caused by hyperthyroidism can be quite dramatic and cats can become seriously ill. These cats often look older as the disease is wearing their bodies out fast!

Heart

Hyperthyroidism can lead to changes in the heart, as it elevates the heart rate and makes the heart work harder. Over time the heart muscle gets enlarged and thickened and if untreated this can lead to heart failure.

Hypertension

Hyperthyroidism can also lead to high blood pressure in some cats and this can cause additional damage to other organs like the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys. In many cases hypertension will resolve with the treatment of the hyperthyroidism but some cats need additional medication.

Kidney disease

Due to the often advanced age of hyperthyroid cats, chronic renal failure can be another complicating factor, as this is also a common disease in older cats. Hyperthyroidism often improves blood pressure in the kidneys and this improves their function. When the hyperthyroidism is treated this can often unmask poor kidney function so a fine balance needs to be found between treating the overactive thyroid and supporting the kidneys.

Treatment

- Medical treatment.
This is not a curative treatment but can be used long-term. To control the thyroid function, anti thyroid drugs are given in the form of tablets. The tablets are usually given twice a day for the rest of your cat's life. Initially your cat will need one or two follow up blood tests to establish the correct dose and then regular bloods tests are required every 6-12 months longterm.

Radioactive iodine treatment

This might sound a bit scary but it is the current treatment of choice for most hyperthyroid cats as it is a safe and effective cure.

Radioactive iodine is administered as an oral suspension (liquid form) which then selectively destroys the abnormal thyroid cells. This is curative in 95% of all hyperthyroid cases. There is no anaesthetic involved and there are no direct side effects or radiation sickness.

Because this treatment involves the handling of radioactive substances it can only be performed in special licensed facilities.

The patients are hospitalised for one week in a special facility until the radiation level has fallen to acceptable limits. They can then be discharged and taken home with special instructions in regards to their care and handling over the next two weeks or there is the option to leave the cat for the entire three weeks. The cats will require a follow up blood test 3 months after the treatment to show the effectiveness of the treatment and to monitor kidney function.

Diet

If your cat is referred for radioactive iodine treatment, it is important that they are fed only a premium diet for at least 2 weeks prior to treatment, as failure to do so can prevent the treatment from being successful. In this case, a premium diet consists of absolutely no fish or fish-based foods, commercial jellimeats or foods high in iodine. To be safe, we recommend Hills Science Diet or Iams chicken-based foods. If you have any queries about this or if your cat already has specific dietary requirements please ensure you or your vet checks with us that the food is suitable to give your cat prior to treatment.

We also strongly suggest that you check that your cat is not getting food from anywhere else, e.g. that your neighbours are not feeding them. If your cat is hyperthyroid then they are likely to be seeking out food wherever they can, and may be well known around the neighbourhood. If your cat has access to non-premium foods elsewhere, treatment success is still jeopardized despite having a premium diet at home.



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