Skip to main content

Radioactive Iodine As a Treatment for Feline Hyperthyroidism

There are three treatments for feline hyperthyroidism: surgery, medication in the form of pills or via the skin - methimazole (perhaps the most common option), and a third, popular option: to use radioactive iodine to destroy the cancerous tissue.

Hyperthyroidism in cats is almost always associated with cancer.  Sometimes cats respond badly to the prescribed medication.  Surgery I suppose can be dangerous because care must be taken not to damage or remove the parathyroid glands which regulate calcium metabolism.  If these glands are removed, the cat will need supplemental thyroid for the remainder of his life.
Nottingham Vet School Flickr photostream. Published here with their express permission.

It is said that the cost of these three treatments are similar in the long term although a cat owner would probably believe that the medication administered orally would be cheaper but this may not be the case in the long term and is something that needs to be checked with the veterinarian.

Radioactive iodine does or is intended to cure the problem (as opposed to treating symptoms) because it destroys the cause of the hyperthyroidism.  The cost of the treatment in the USA is around $1,300.  To undergo this treatment cats have their hearts checked out by a echocardiogram because hyperthyroidism can damage the heart.  As I understand it, the radioactive iodine is administered by a pill.  Treatment can take about 2 weeks and it appears to be residential treatment meaning that your cat stays at the veterinary hospital during treatment.

The radioactivity that is administered to the cat is shed in the cat's urine and faeces which are checked until it is reduced to a safe level.

Cats treated this way may need supplemental thyroid for the rest of their lives.

Provided this condition is caught early and before the heart or kidney is damaged treatment can be successful.

One sort of cancer which causes hyperthyroidism, a malignant adenocarcinoma, is harder to treat and the prognosis is very poor because the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti