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Hyperthyroid Radioactive Iodine Treatment - any experiences?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by foxlegs, May 7, 2011.


  1. foxlegs

    foxlegs PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone

    Just joined this forum - My 15 year old (today!) cat Jake has just been diagnosed as being hyperthyroid - we have discussed treatment with the vet and as Jake is an absolute nightmare to tablet (he honks them up after giving them to him) the vet has recommended he has radioactive iodine treatment.

    Having looked at what this entails and the length of time he will be away from home (4 weeks) I'm not sure if this would be the right thing to do to him - has anyone had a cat that has gone through this treatment? Our nearest centre is a 2hr drive away in Canterbury.

    Would love some advice from anyone as don't know what to do for the best.

    Many thanks!
     
  2. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Four weeks????? That's insane! I'd look further for a more updated facility.

    The I-131 treatment is now a 3 day treatment. Cat comes home on the fourth day.

    As long as there are no kidney problems, I highly recommend it.

    There is a transdermal method for giving the medicine instead of pills. It's a cream rubbed into the ear. But for a cat in good health I'd take the Radioactive-iodine treatment.

    <edit> I forgot you are in the UK, I've just done a little research and saw one facility that says 3-6 weeks hospital stay. Perhaps things aren't as advanced there? In the USA the I-131 treatment is a 3 day treatment. Cat is safe to go home on the fourth day. I would not want my 15 year old cat away from home that long either. :(

    Look into the transdermal method. Of course, there is also surgery, to remove the thyroid gland.
     
    #2 lorilu, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  3. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    How interesting! Considering that the same radioactive iodine compound (I 131) seems to be given and considering that there are no physiological differences between US and UK born cats, I guess the difference must be/could be due to differences in laws re acceptable exposure to radiation. :confused: Does anyone know? Or is the blunt implication that centres over here are cashing in?

    Lorilu, how long do cats who have had this treatment need to stay in a separate room from their owner and how long until they are allowed out or are allowed to mingle with other cats?
     
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    It used to be 2-3 weeks, a cat was kept. But now, 3-4 days.

    Cats are allowed to mingle immediately upon coming home. The only special requirements is the cat's used litter has to be specially disposed of for two weeks. That's all.

    One treatment center:

    Radiocat - Frequently Asked Questions

     
    #4 lorilu, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  5. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    The differences really baffle me Lorilu. Even for humans undergoing radioactive iodine treatment (and according to the quote, the regulations over in the US are stricter for animals than humans), the guideline over here is to stay about 1 metre away from other human beings and pets for about 2 weeks and to remain away from pregnant women for longer (well it was about 2 years ago).
     
  6. foxlegs

    foxlegs PetForums Newbie

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    thanks guys I've been reading up on this and laws are totally different in the US to UK. Still unsure how he will cope being shut away for that length of time - he also has to undergo tests beforehand to make sure he can be in isolation which will involve a general anaesthetic - might think about trying the tableting - but kind of know how he's going to react to taking these - not well - if I had his thyroid removed he would have to take tablets before the op.

    Very difficult call to make! I wonder how long he would survive without any medication? He'd be happier as he hates the vets but probably wouldn't be around long if we left him - so need to do something to help - if he had the iodine there is a 98% chance of full recovery. Want to do the best for Jake as I love him to bits.
     
  7. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Quality of life certainly has to be considered. Yes, treating hyper-t requires frequent vet visits, especially at first. But what cat doesn't 'hate the vet'? There's "hate the vet" and then there's "extreme trauma and distress over going to the vet".

    If you don't want to do the surgery or the I-131 and pills do turn out to cause him too much stress, you can look into the transdermal method.

    What happens if you let it go is he will get sicker and sicker. He will want to eat voraciously, but will continue to loose weight. He will not feel good. He will have high blood pressure and his risk of stroke will be higher each day. It would not be a happy life for long. :( He's only 15, and otherwise healthy, right?

    You can at least try the pills. Many cats adjust to daily medication. I can give you what I consider a fail-safe pillling method, for ANY cat or you can try dissolving the pill in a tasty liquid and tip it down his throat.

    Or you can do the transdermal method.

    The only way I would let a hyperthyroid condition go untreated is if the cat could not tolerate the medicine at all, in any form, and was too sick to go through the I-131 or surgery.

    That was my experience, by the way. My 17 year old kitty had CRF, so she was not a candidate for the radioactive iodine treatment or surgery. She was accustomed to taking pills as she had been taking medication for megacolon for many years already.

    When she developed hyperthyroid and high blood pressure we put her on methimazole (thiamazole). It made her so sick she could not keep any food down. We stopped the pills for a while, and tried treating at least the high blood pressure. The norvasc gave her fainting spells, so had to stop that. She had one stroke, so we decided to try liquid methimazole. I thought it was working, but after a couple weeks the nausea came back, so off the medicine again.

    She had another stroke. This time we tried the transdermal methimazole. It caused ulcers in her ears. My poor little girlie, her body just could not tolerate the medicine in any form.

    So all I could do was take care of her best I could, keeping her quality of life as high as I could. She did end up having a third stroke, and this one was severe enough that I knew she didn't want me to wait and see if she would recover. So I sent her to the Bridge. Ironically it was exactly 2 years ago today.

    Her reaction to the methimazole (thiamazole) is not all that common. Most cats tolerate it very well, or, if they don't at first, are able to adjust to it with a little time. My girlie was very fragile to begin with and was on other medications which may have caused some interaction problems.

    I'm not trying to talk you into anything. Just relating my experiences in an effort to help you think things through.

    Please do keep us posted on your Jake.
     
    #7 lorilu, May 7, 2011
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
    hobbs2004 likes this.
  8. GreyHare

    GreyHare Guest


    Thats what my Mum had a few years back and yes no close contact for a fortnight.

    I thought that some places would allow the cat out after two weeks as long as you follow strict guidelines when they are home.
     
  9. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    The London centre will allow the cat home after 2 weeks but advise no close contact for another 2 weeks after that....no good for Nellie as she shares my pillow.:eek:
     
  10. foxlegs

    foxlegs PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Lorilu, this helps a lot. Will chat through with the vet this week and let you know which treatment we opt for. Jake is a healthy cat apart from the hyperthyroid problem and hopefully we have caught this early as I took him to the vet as soon as I noticed his increased thirst and appetite.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  11. Sooz00

    Sooz00 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Foxlegs,

    What did you decide in the end? My cat Tess was diagnosed last year and had I131 at the Animal Health Trust near Newmarket. I wasn't sure she'd deal with 3 weeks away. She was very quiet for the first week and they had to give her an appetite stimulant as she was very reluctant to eat. She did settle in the end though and looking back, I definitely think it was the right decision. She was there for 3 weeks in total. When she came home we had to be careful for another 2 weeks, such as wearing gloves when cleaning the litter tray and double bagging the soiled litter. We also had to avoid her overgrooming the other cats and not fuss her too much for those two weeks.

    One of my other cats Tiger (Tess' brother) was diagnosed with hyper-t last week so we've only just got him started on tablets. Once his t4 is stable though, he'll be going to the AHT for I131 as well. Again, I don't think he'll deal with the 3 weeks away too well at first but I think he'll settle after a short while. He hates tablets and I worry about the risk of surgery so I think I131 will be best for him too.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  12. Ginette

    Ginette PetForums Newbie

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    I too am thinking of having Radioactive Iodine Treatment for my12 year old cat. I am in Portsmouth UK and my cat is very unhappy and showing all of the classic signs of having thyroid problems. My vet ran the tests and they came back negative. She contacted the labs who said that he still might be suffering from it, He may be starting tablets next week, but I do not want them longterm as I have read so many other things that the tablets might affect, I am not sure where the nearest centre is but apart from that and a heart murmer he is healthy. Does anybody know where to find a list of places that do this in the south of England?

    Ginette
     
  13. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Apparently, there aren't many. A quick google search brought me this:


    source (worth reading, very good info here):

    Clinical Information > Hyperthyroidism

    Keep us posted on your kitty okay? did your vet do a blood chemistry, checking everything? There are many other diseases senior cats can get that have similar symptoms to hyperthyroid. CRF and diabetes, to name two.
     
  14. gemini

    gemini PetForums Member

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    My elderly cat, Meg, had radioiodine treatment back in February. She's already had one thyroid gland removed but the hyperthyroidism came back and she couldn't tolerate the tablets. We live in Hull so went to Ripon. She had to stay for 2 weeks and it cost us about £1200. I can't speak highly enough of Andrew Bodey, the vet, and his team at Bishopton.

    She just had a blood test and her thyroid levels are perfect. It was hard for us when she was at the vets for 2 weeks, but if any of my other cats were hyperthyroid I'd definitely have the same treatment for them.
     
    lorilu likes this.
  15. sonyso

    sonyso PetForums Newbie

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    Hi foxylegs, I am in uk and I had my male cat last march up to glasgow to have the radio iodine treatment. he had 3 days in unit before the treatment went ahead to see if he is gonna eat ok coz once they go in if they fall ill there will be problems, he had the treatment and was away for 3 weeks, he was cured, his blood results showed he was hypothyroid was a couple of months but this is normal after the treatment and his levels came back to normal within 3 month, he did start with diabeatus and i now have to needle him 2 daily but again I was told that this was also normal for a cat who has had hyperthyroid, i know it seems all bad news that i am writing but i dont feel that way, my tommi is back to his full weight now and he is looking good. I now have to make the decision to have my female cat have Iodine treatment which is a little more difficult as she is more fussy and can go off her food more easily, but she has just been on tablets and they are no good for her as she is being sick on them all the time, she was diagnoses 2 weeks ago, the iodine treatment is the best treatment coz they are cured. tommi was a bit stressed when he came back but he soon settled down after a week or two, if you want to e-mail me I will gladly talk to you about this as I was worried like you when I had to make the decision last year but had no one to talk to, tommi was 12 when he had the treatment :)
     
  16. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    sonyso.....I have not heard that a cat would become diabetic after having this radio active treatment, I find that quite puzzling.
    If you are giving your cat insulin I highly recommend that you buy a small human blood glucose meter ( Freestyle Lite is a good one, from Boots etc ) and test his BG daily at home. This can prevent any issues with over or under dosing.
    Diabetic Cat Care is a great forum with loads of advice on how to proeprly deal with feline diabetes.
     
  17. dorrit

    dorrit PetForums VIP

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    Dont know a cat thats had it but I have personally had the radioactive iodine 131 treatment..

    It stopped the thyroid stone dead so Im lifelong on pills but...2 days in isolation ( radioactive pee ect) and then there were strict rules about human contact for about 6 weeks .. could this be why they want to keep your cat in so long?

    I was told not to eat at the same table with or sleep in the same bed as OH for 6 weeks and to stay away from pregnant women esp those in the first 3 months.
    I imagine it would be very hard to ensure thse rules were followed by a cat so maybe the best way is to keep the cat in at a vets hospital..
     
  18. Charlotte Bartlett

    Charlotte Bartlett PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, my 9 year old girl is off to wetherby on 17th Jan. She will have to stay between 5-10 days. I'll let you know how she gets on x
     
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  19. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

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    You've replied to a post that was written in 2011.

    I hope all goes well with your girl! Do let us know how she gets on!
     
    SusieRainbow likes this.
  20. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    I will be very interested to hear how she gets on and am very happy to see tat the proposed hospital stay is only 5-10 days which is far more manageable than the stays of 3 weeks or more which used to be called for
     
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