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Valued Contributor
Posts: 796
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

Gracie -- our 15 year old cat -- has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  Radioactive iodine is the gold standard of treatment.  We planned to do that but after reading the details of after care -- we have decided that we cannot put Gracie through it.  She has always been a total scaredy cat (she was found on the side of a road and weighed .97 of a pound when we got her) -- is totally tied to us and with one of us all the time -- and we believe that the protocols are just too stringent to put her through.  She would have to spend a week at the vet -- be isolated for the first week after coming home -- and it would be weeks before she could interact with us as usual.  I wondered if anybody has had a cat go through this treatment and your thoughts about the process.  We want to do what is best for Gracie (right now we are planning to continue with medication) but in this case -- given her disposition and age -- it appears that what is best medically would not be best emotionally.  Thanks so much for any input!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,841
Registered: ‎06-08-2016

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

It's wonderful we have these treatments available but quality of life is important as well.

 

I have a 17 year old Gracie, right now she's doing OK.    But when the time comes I hope I can make the decision to let her go with peaceful dignity.   She's been a great cat, she deserves the best and the best may not be serious, invasive treatments to what end?

 

I'm so sorry you have to make this decision for your precious furbaby.

Letting her go may be the best medicine.

 

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 796
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

@software  Thanks!  Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication.  We had another cat years ago who had the condition and that is how we treated her.  It's just that radioactive iodine is a one time treatment with the best results.  Other than the hyperthyroidism -- which is very common in older cats -- Gracie has no medical issues and acts the same way she always has.  Thank God we don't have to make the ultimate decision!  If that day ever comes -- we will make the decision the same way we did for our other cats.  We take ourselves and our love for them out of the equation and do whatever is best for them.  I wish the best for your Gracie!!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,607
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

I have done it.  I don't remember having to isolate him after bringing him home.  I think they kept him longer.  I do remember there being something specific we had to do with his litter and poop for quite awhile after he came home.  

 

I was concened about him being away from me so long since he was bonded to me and really didn't have anything to do with anybody else including my husband.  I had a friend who took her cat to Atlanta (4 hour drive) to do it which was the closest place available at the time.  Seems like they kept her cat a month.  Luckily, a cat-only vet opened up locally and they had that service available by the time I needed to do it.  

 

For us, it really was the only way to go for that particular cat.  Even though he was bonded to me, he wouldn't allow me to pick him up to pill him and I'm sure that would get worse as time went on.  So, it basically was a choice between getting the treatment or euthanizing him.  

 

Previous to that I did have a cat that had hypothyroidism, but he was compliant with giving him a daily pill and that was before the ability to get that treatment locally.  He had other issues too, so can't say what it was that got him in the end.  I knew the end was imminent when I brought him home from a vet visit and he came out of the kitty carrier and then turned around and went back in.  He lived the rest of his life in that carrier only coming out to eat and go to the litter box.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,606
Registered: ‎11-24-2013

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

@judy0330 You know your sweet kitty better than anyone and if all the isolation would cause her a lot of distress, and it sounds like it would, I would make exactly the same decision you have.

 

Given her history there's no way I'd put her through all that. Since medication can help that's what I personally would do. She will not have a good quality of life by being isolated so much from those she loves and who love her.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 796
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

 

@Icegoddess Thanks so much for your response!  Our vet was also surprised at the stringent after care protocols.  (The vet who does the iodine treatment is only about 45 minutes away.)  My husband and I were shocked when we read the after care instructions and asked the vet's office who does the treatment if it is set in cement.  Unfortunately they said yes.  There are rules for litter etc as well.  This is the aftercare protocol in terms of being able to be with Gracie -- and is the total opposite of how she lives her life now:

 

  • Personal contact should be restricted at first, but can be gradually increased over time based

    on the following

  •  
  • Week1

    • Close contact (within one foot) such as petting must be avoided completely

    • Do not hold the cat or allow it to sit in your lap.

    • The cat may not sleep in a bed with a person

Maintain a distance of more than 3 feet from your pet

 

Week2

 

  • Petting is allowed, but should be limited to 20 minutes per day

  • Wash hands after any direct contact

  • Do not hold the cat or allow it to sit in your lap

  • The cat may not sleep in a bed with a person

  • At all other times maintain a distance of more than 3 feet

  •  
  • Week3

  • Petting is unrestricted

  • Wash hands after any direct contact

  • Laptime/holding should be limited to 30 minutes per day

  • The cat may not sleep in a bed with a person

Valued Contributor
Posts: 796
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

[ Edited ]

@Love my grandkids  Thank so much!  That is what we are planning to do.  Posters on this forum always have great input and I didn't want to leave any stone unturned in making the decision.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,607
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

@judy0330 , I really don't remember that sort of protocol, but really, with that particular cat it probably wouldn't have been a problem.  He was not a lap cat and also only allowed me to pet him, but not much.  He was an F2 Bengal so had a lot of wild in him. He had his own little bed and didn't sleep with us either (his choice).  He did really well after we brought him home, but we eventually lost him to pancreatitis.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 109
Registered: ‎04-06-2010

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

My senior cat had hyperthyroidism as well as  hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He is also a scaredy cat who melts down when he has to go out of the house to the vet.  We thought the radioactive iodine treatment with the stay at the vet would be too much for him and that he would have a cat nervous breakdown so we opted for medicine. However with time the dose needed increased to the point he was having vomiting from it and his numbers were not good even at that huge dose. So we had to do the the radioactive iodine treatment. He actually had to have it twice because he was in the very small number of cats that need a second treatment.  They kept him less than a week both times, and determined when he was ok to be released using a geiger counter.  At home we were told petting was ok but if possible don't sleep snuggled for a week or so and also we had to save the used litter for about six months.  That was it for special protocols. Even with his very high strung temperment and the second treatment he did great with it and was his normal self immediately on coming back home. That was three years ago. He is still going strong at almost 19! If i have another hyperthyoid kitty i will opt for the radioactive iodine treatment from the start.  So this is just another perspective for you go consider. Good luck and best of health to your fur baby!

Super Contributor
Posts: 352
Registered: ‎10-17-2010

Re: Radioactive Iodine for Hyperthyroid Cat

I did this for one of my past cats.  Because the thyroid medication wasn't working any longer.  I won't do it again sorry to say.  My poor cat being isolated for a week and not understanding where I was or why he was there was heartbreaking to me.  When I picked him up to bring him home, he cried all the way home in the car nonstop.  I just felt awful and couldn't get home fast enough.  To be fair he had other problems too that he was being treated for like diabetes, heart disease, etc.  I still miss that cat so much.  It was like once he turned five he just started having all these health problems.  I managed to keep him going for another 10 years but it was a lot of hard work and cost.  I will learn to let go sooner based on the quality of life that I see.  Love you forever my Tommy boy.