Meet Our Staff
View Our Hospital
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Feline hyperthyroidism is a disorder resulting from excessive thyroid hormone. The disease occurs in middle to older cats without sex or breed predilection. Though functional benign enlargement (adenoma) is most common (98%), thyroid carcinoma (cancer) is another cause (2%). The cats thyroid gland has two lobes - about 70% of cats have both lobes affected.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My cat is on Tapazole, can she still be given radioiodine?
Q: My cat is 17, can she stand the hospitalization?
Q: Can I visit?
Q: Are some cats not able to receive radioiodine?
Q: What happens if my cat becomes critically ill while hospitalized for radioiodine therapy?
Anti-thyroid drugs inhibit the production of thyroxine by blocking the biochemical reactions that produce the hormone. These drugs are usually effective but may be needed for a lifetime. As with any drug, there can be reactions. These include loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, bleeding tendencies, skin rashes, facial swelling and itching. Pills are given two or three times a day. Periodic checkups are needed to check hormone levels and adjust the dosage.
Removal of the thyroid gland is a relatively straightforward surgical procedure with a good success rate. There are added risks because general anesthesia is needed and older cats may have heart, kidney or other problems that cause complications. Loss of the parathyroid gland can cause disorders of calcium metabolism.
While this is the preferred treatment for people with the same disease, the availability of radioiodine for cats is limited to specialty hospitals with strict radioisotope permits. We are pleased to offer this treatment option at GSVS. Radioiodine is safe and effective with cure rates of approximately 95-98% with one treatment. Cats can receive a second treatment if necessary. This treatment avoids surgery, anesthesia, and anti-thyroid drugs. The major disadvantage is required hospitalization until most of the radioactivity dissipates. A single injection is given (under the skin, like a vaccine) and the radioactive iodine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The iodine is taken into the thyroid gland and incorporated into thyroxine. The majority of cats have normal hormone levels within a week or two of treatment. Hospitalization is required under the radioisotope permit issued by the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). You can expect hospitalization for a period of 72 hours. There will be additional minor precautions after discharge but they are not difficult and will be thoroughly explained to you.
Cats with severe disease involving many organ systems may not survive. However, most cats, even teenagers, respond very well to treatment. The majority of patients need no additional thyroid supplementation or further treatment for hyperthyroidism. In fact, less than 2% of cats treated with radioactive iodine remain hyperthyroid and require repeat treatment.
Cost of Treatment
Total cost for radioactive iodine therapy is $1725 - inclusive of:
If you have a patient to refer for hyperthyroidism, please do not hesitate to call to schedule