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06 June 2009


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Thanks for sharing this, Christie. I have noticed the very strong movement of the veterinary profession toward recommendation of radioactive iodine treatment, and have experienced the full-court press to I-131 personally as "the only option" for a hyperthyroid cat. After watching the less-than-impressive results of an I-131 treatment and subsequently discovering that the treatment failure rate is higher than the sales pitches would like you to believe, I have been trying to understand thryoidectomy better. This is really useful knowledge for any cat owner to have before they face decisionmaking about the best course of treatment for a hyperthyroid cat.

Christie Keith

Feline, and of course, in this study the MAJORITY of the cats would be helped by thyroidectomy, so having this information, and properly interpreted, seems like an invaluable tool in the decision making process, and one many vets might not be aware of.

Colorado Transplant

My cat had radioactive iodine treatment (had to be done three times over the years) and it helped him to live to almost 16 years.

I did not want him to have a thryoidectomy, but that was my choice for him and it worked.

Normally, a cat only needs one treatment of radioactive iodine, but my cat had a very high reading in the beginning when I discovered the problem.

Colorado Transplant

The symptons of a hyperactive thyroid in a cat definitely include: the cat getting very thin and the heart beating rapidly--which places a big burden on the cat's heart.


How long do cats have to be isolated after radioactive iodine treatment in the US? Over here (UK) they have to be barrier nursed in a cage for a month & vets very rarely recommend it as an option.

Generally vets seem to recommend treatment with felimazole long term unless the cat is fairly young and only has one of the pair of glands affected. In that case they seem to recommend treatment with felimazole until the cat's heart rate is down to normal & then surgical thyroidectomy.

Colorado Transplant

Gee, my cat was at the rehab facility less than a week after receiving liquid radioactive iodine treatment. Then we were told to keep said cat in the house for a week after he came home.

If you have an expert as I did, a well-trained vet who was further educated specifically in radiology treatments, it is so much less an invasive procedure than surgery.


I had a cat who had radioactive iodine when he was 15, and again at 17 when the adenoma reoccurred. Both times he was kept at the oncology clinic for two weeks.

We chose the rad treatments because Lionel had developed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy secondary to the hyperthyroidism -- making him a very poor candidate for surgery -- and he hadn't responded at all well to the thyroid meds.

Lionel, btw, lived to just a few weeks shy of 20, when his kidneys finally gave out completely. Oh -- and I would urge anyone with cats who've been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism to have their hearts and blood pressure checked, as I gathered that it's not too uncommon for HCM and high BP to occur as secondary complications.

Patty Laswick

My dear Nikki was on Tapazole for over a year but it eventually made him ill. On my vet's recommendation,I then drove him out of state to a specialty facility where he had a successful radioactive iodine treatment at the age of 19. He was at the facility just a few days.He lived to 21, with symptoms of CRF appearing the last few months of his life.

Patty L.

Rosemary Rodd

Looks as if the Heath 'n Safety Monster strikes again. Over here (UK) it's mandatory to isolate cats for 4 weeks after radioactive iodine treatment.

I looked into it for my Fern, but decided against it as she's also epileptic and the requirement for barrier nursing meant the nurses wouldn't have been allowed to put her on a diazepam drip if she had a bad fit during the isolation period. Also it's eye-wateringly expensive - £2k

Assuming the US isn't full of cat owners who've grown two heads, the 4 week caging seems to be just over-caution.

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