Associated Veterinary Specialists - Advanced Veterinary Care - St. Louis, MO
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St. Louis Radioactive iodine therapy Veterinarians

Radioactive iodine therapy

Associated Veterinary Specialists Internal Medicine veterinarians provide the highest level of Radioactive iodine therapy veterinary services in the St. Louis area

Hyperthyroidism is a common problem of middle aged and older cats. It is a rare disease of dogs although Associated Veterinary Specialists has treated one dog. It is caused by benign tumors of the thyroid called thyroid adenomas. They are rarely malignant. A long delay from the time of diagnosis to the time of radioactive iodine therapy may increase the chance of the tumor becoming malignant.
Cats with hyperthyroidism have a variety of symptoms with weight loss being the most common. Most are diagnosed with a simple blood test but some require more sophisticated testing to be certain of the diagnosis.
The gold standard of treatment is radioactive iodine therapy. Other therapies are much less desirable and efficacious. Surgery, methimazole therapy and dietary therapy are all available but have serious drawbacks and are very poor substitutes for radioactive iodine. Delay of definitive treatment can often be very detrimental to the cat.
Owners will schedule an appointment with one of the internists to be certain of the diagnosis and that radioactive iodine is appropriate for the pet. The pet is evaluated and all of the owner’s questions are answered. Additional tests may be prescribed but not often. The guidelines for care of the cat after therapy are discussed as well as the restrictions necessary since the cat is radioactive after treatment. This is not dangerous to humans or other pets. The guidelines are simple to follow and mostly involve common sense.
Ninety-five percent of cats are cured with a single dose. A few cats require thyroid supplementation and a few cats may need a second treatment in the future. There are no short or long term side effects of radioactive iodine other than a few that require supplements because their thyroid levels are too low.
Cats having iodine therapy are admitted on Tuesday morning and are released on Thursday. Owners are requested to bring 3 days of their normal diet along so their diet is not changed. They are checked for radioactivity in 2 weeks and they return to the family veterinarian in 4 weeks for a repeat of the thyroid level. After that no further therapy or testing is usually required other than routine monitoring.