Dr Laura Bahorich VMD, a veterinarian at Memphis Veterinary Specialists, tells us that she has a 90% success rate when using radioactive iodine or I-131 to treat domestic cats with hyperthyroidism. The price of the treatment is $900. It is injected.
Another veterinarian, Dr Bart Madison at the Pet Hospitals’ Collierville Clinic, normally recommends radioactive iodine to treat hypothyroidism over oral or topical medication.
Laura says that because of advances in veterinary medicine, cats treated with radioactive iodine can go home within 2 to 3 days because the dosage is very low. It would seem that in the past cats who underwent this therapy had to stay at the treatment center for 7 to 25 days while the radioactivity was shed in the cat’s urine and feces and reduced to an acceptably low level.
Cats treated with radioactive iodine may need supplemental thyroid for the remainder of their lives.
Cause of Feline Hyperthyroidism?
She also says that in her experience 10% of teenage cats have hyperthyroidism which she correctly considers to be a high level of prevalence. She wonders why this high-level exists but it may be due to endocrine disruptors found in household items. The household does contain quite a large number of potentially dangerous substances which are hidden such as flame retardants in sofas and armchairs and chemicals in carpets to preserve them. The manufacturers of these products don’t do enough to further the welfare of domestic cats in homes. They focus on profit which is quite natural for a business but I would hope that cat owners are aware of these dangers and choose products which are less dangerous to cats.
One study implicated the lining of the cans of commercial cat food as a possible cause. One veterinarian with rather radical views, Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins, is suspicious of pet food ingredients such as soy, which is known to have a considerable effect on the human thyroid gland. It is added to cat food to increase the protein content. I don’t know of any studies which have investigated this possibility.
Feline hyperthyroidism is normally most commonly seen in middle-aged and older cats. Some veterinarians consider the disease to be an epidemic in cats over 10 years of age. These veterinarians might say that it is the single most common disease that they treat in older domestic cats.
Cat owners are probably suspicious about treating their cat with radioactive iodine because the word “radioactive” hints at something which is dangerous to them.
High Success Rate
According to Laura Bahorich, the expense of the treatment is well rewarded with a 90% success rate. She says that the cats are cured 9/10 of the time. She treats cats on Monday and she’s never had a cat stay longer at the clinic than Thursday. When the cat goes home the owner is exposed to a lower level radiation than they get on an aircraft flying across America.