Radioactive Iodine

The VESC is one of the few hospitals nationwide to offer radioactive iodine (I-131) treatment as an alternative treatment for feline hyperthyroidism.  Radioactive iodine therapy is administered by a single injection of radioactive iodine intramuscularly in the rear limb. Treatment is cost effective when compared to long term medical therapy, monitoring or surgery. It eliminates daily pilling, does NOT require anesthesia, typically does not affect healthy thyroid tissue, does NOT damage any other tissue or organs, does NOT have any harmful side effects, returns thyroid function to normal usually within one month, and selectively destroys thyroid tumors irrespective to their location or number.

One injection of Radioiodine (I-131) is all it takes!
• Cost effective when compared to long term medical therapy and monitoring or surgery
• Eliminates daily pilling and associated compliance issues
• Does NOT require anesthesia
• Typically does NOT affect healthy thyroid tissue
• Does NOT damage any other tissue or organs, including the parathyroid glands
• Does NOT have any harmful side effects
• Selectively destroys thyroid tumors irrespective of their location or number
• Returns thyroid function to normal usually within one month

I-131 therapy is generally regarded as the treatment of choice for most hyperthyroid patients who are systematically stable without clinically significant cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic, endocrine or neurological disease. Nonthyroid related medical problems should be discussed with I-131 personnel to determine if I-131 is appropriate for your patients.

Please review the following information with clients when considering referring a patient for I-131 therapy.
• Required pre-therapy workup: CBC, Complete Biochemical Profile, T4, Urinalysis with sediment, Retrovirus testing for FeLV and FIV and diagnostic quality radiographs depicting thoracic and abdominal structures… all tests should be current with 30 – 45 days.
• An initial screening appointment is required with Dr. Howard before the scheduled admission date to confirm the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, evaluate and discuss overall patient health, obtain additional or updated test results and allow clients to discuss concerns or questions they may have regarding therapy.
• In most cases, discontinuation of antithyroid medications approximately 7 days prior to scheduled therapy is recommended.
• Patients are admitted for therapy by appointment after all information relating to the screening
examination has been evaluated.
• Patients are hospitalized in the nuclear medicine ward for five days. Clients cannot visit patients during therapy, nor can patients be removed from the ward until officially released. Clients cannot terminate therapy or arrange for early release once therapy has begun. These rules are dictated by the Federal guidelines on radiation safety.
• After admission for I-131 therapy, information on patient’s daily status will be available to clients
by a referral coordinator or other designated personnel.
• I-131 therapy includes:
» Review of all patients case records and radiographs
» Physical examination
» Hospitalization in the nuclear medicine ward
» Administration of I-131
» I-131 and appropriate radiation monitoring
» Daily care and feeding
» Telephone Consultations with primary care veterinarians and clients as needed to discuss
post treatment follow up tests and patient clinical status.

If you have any questions please call
Dr. Howard or a Referral Coordinator
(804) 353-9000

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