NorthStar VETS Video
Radioiodine I-131 patient requirements before treatment
Radioiodine is a very specialized treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism. It is currently the only completely curative treatment option available for cats with this condition.
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolic rate, develops a tumor (98% are benign) that causes an overproduction of thyroid hormone (thus the term "hyper" thyroidism). This condition over-stimulates many organ systems and causes abnormalities, including changes in behavior, decreased or excessive appetite, hyperactivity or lethargy, weight loss, fever, rapid heartbeat, increased water consumption and litter box output, shedding of fur, and diarrhea. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can be fatal. We can now completely cure this disease and return your cat to a normal thyroid state.
What Are My Options?
There are three options for treatment of hyperthyroidism:
Advantages of Radioiodine (I-131)
- Medical Treatment with Anti-Thyroid Drug (Tapazole)
Medication typically causes side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, hair loss, and facial scabbing. Regular follow-up is needed, including blood tests to monitor thyroid hormone levels. Medication and monitoring blood work will remain constant expenses for the duration of your cat's life. Your pet may experience the loss of white blood cells and blood clotting abilities, in addition to long-term liver and kidney damage. This treatment does not cure.
- Surgery and its Risks
Many hyperthyroid cats have heart problems and are higher anesthetic risks. The entire tumor is often difficult to identify and remove. Persistence of hyperthyroidism post-surgery (80% will develop another tumor within 1-1/2 years) is common. There is increased risk of hypocalcemia after surgery and many cats still require I-131 therapy after undergoing surgery, with a single surgery costing up to $1,500.
- Radioiodine (I-131)
Can completely cure hyperthyroidism by destroying only the thyroid tumor. Over 94% of all cats treated never need future treatment. The treatment is a simple single subcutaneous injection. As required by law, your cat will need to stay for four days post treatment and will receive plenty of love and care. The thyroid function should return to normal within 4 weeks. The radioiodine should not affect normal thyroid tissue and should produce no harmful side effects.
- Daily pilling eliminated
- More cost effective
- No anesthesia required
- Normal thyroid tissue not affected
- Destroys thyroid tumors regardless of location
- Thyroid function returned to normal usually within 4 weeks