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

Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Feline Thyrotoxicosis

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism.

Is regarded as the "Gold Standard" treatment (the best).

  • Cost $695.00 for treatment and 7 days boarding or $995.00 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.


  • 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)


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


  • Only this diet can be fed.
  • Cost over 4 years approx. $800.00 over normal feeding costs. Fussy feeders and multicat households may find this difficult to manage.

Common Questions……

  • How is the treatment given? Orally, no anaesthetic or injections required!
  • Will my cat suffer side effects such as vomiting or hair loss? No
  • What do I feed after treatment? The cats preferred diet

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!


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.


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.


- 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 a follow up blood test to establish the correct dose. The medication is safe and effective for most cats. Side effects such as poor appetite, vomiting, lethargy, skin irritations and blood count changes can however occur in some cats.

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.


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.

Please click here to download a refferal form for treatment of feline thyrontoxicosis with radioactive treatment

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