Hyperthyroid in ageing pussy - radioiodine treatment?

(16 Posts)
Passmethecrisps Mon 03-Feb-14 21:33:32

Hello!

Having noticed her looking awfully bony our old cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroid. We got her as a rescue cat 10.5 years ago when she was thought to be roughly 2 to 3 years old.

The vet has prescribed vidalta pills once daily and regular blood tests.

DH has been researching various options and has come across radioiodine treatment. He mentioned it to our vet who was dismissive of the procedure citing its huge cost (£3000-4000) and risk of death to the cat.

However, our cattery lady was much more positive thinking it cost about £1000 and was very successful as a procedure.

Has anyone had any experience of this procedure? We are in Central Scotland.

Thanks in advance

Toomuch2young Mon 03-Feb-14 21:41:57

Yes know of 2 cats who have been successfully treated with it. Only a couple of specialist centres do it and if i remember correctly the cat has a week trial stay first when it has all the pre procedure tests, then another longer stay with almost no human contact for a couple of weeks due to the radioactive risks.

But i know of loads of cats that are maintained on daily medication.
Have you considered the other option of restricted iodine prescription diet (hills yd). The other option is a thyroidectomy which could be worth looking in to.

Best of luck with what you decide.

Passmethecrisps Mon 03-Feb-14 21:46:43

Thanks for responding.

Interstingly our vet was also very dismissive of the dietary treatment.

The daily pills are ok bit it is such a trauma giving her them. It would be good if we could trust another option.

chemenger Mon 03-Feb-14 21:48:35

Our cat had this treatment at the vet school in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. It cost £2000 for all the pre and post- treatment checks as well as the treatment itself. I think the risk to the cat is lower than the operation, but you would have to check. Apart from having to stay at the vet for a week (might be 10 days, I can't remember) it's quite low stress for the cat. They have nice pens for them, like a cattery and round the clock nurses. You have to avoid close contact with the cat for a week or so after they come home, and they have to stay in. You also have to use flushable litter for a while. Overall it was pretty painless for all of us and I would recommend it. Our insurance paid for it without questioning the cost at all. I seem to remember that there is an issue if you have young children, the cat is very slightly radioactive when it comes home (somewhat disappointingly they don't glow in the dark).

Take a look on the edinburgh Dick Vet web pages, there may be some information on there. We use the vet hospital as our normal vet so there was no problem getting referred.

chemenger Mon 03-Feb-14 21:50:38

One reason we had for going for a cure rather than ongoing medication was that our cat is not at all handlable and pilling was going to be impractical.

Toomuch2young Mon 03-Feb-14 21:51:28

Have had some good results with the diet, the cats it works in is single cat house holds (no access to other cat food) and for similar reasons cats that are indoor cats!

It's a bit of a nightmare really isn't it. Sorry your vets not being too helpful!

Passmethecrisps Mon 03-Feb-14 21:51:50

That is really helpful.

She is an indoor cat anyway but we do have a 14 month old baby. Might be a problem.

Toomuch2young Mon 03-Feb-14 21:52:31

chemenger that's really insightful thanks for the first hand experience and glad went well for your kitty.

Passmethecrisps Mon 03-Feb-14 21:53:46

Thanks toomuch. It is a shame as we have been there for years - pre cat when I kept hamsters!

I am sure it isn't the case but she does seem awfully keen on dismissing treatments which don't give her an ongoing fee.

No insurance anymore sadly - cancelled it because we felt it was getting too expensive!!

chemenger Mon 03-Feb-14 21:54:46

There is some info on the Dick vet site, I can't do the link on here, but if you google dick vet radioiodine you will find it.

Passmethecrisps Mon 03-Feb-14 22:02:55

Thank you chemenger

timtam23 Mon 03-Feb-14 22:03:10

My cat had an overactive thyroid aged 16, I felt he was too old for us to consider radioiodine although had he been 5-6 years younger we may have gone for it (thinking we would have been more likely to get enough extra time with him to justify the expense).

One thing my vet did say was that the animal has to stay in a sort of quarantine after the treatment because of the radioactivity and if in that time it became unwell, it would have to be put to sleep straight away because it would not be possible to handle it in order to give it treatment for anything else. Not sure if this applies at every centre but it certainly meant that I would not consider radioiodine for my cat.

He had tablets at first but became very unwell because they affected his blood cells quite badly. So we decided on surgery, it was successful and the cost was not so bad (he was uninsured but the money we'd saved after stopping insurance was more than enough to pay for the op) and he is still with us 18 months on, although quite frail & nearing the end of his life now. So I think that for him the surgery was the right decision.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 03-Feb-14 22:41:02

I have not had a success yet on the food and believe me I've tried a number of cats as I so want it to work.
I have not yet managed to get a cat to meet the criteria for radioactive iodine which are very strict. There is huge variation in how long the cats need to remain hospitalised due to it being the interpretation of when there is no risk to humans by the individual RPA. Current prices I have been given are the £3-4,000. Cats do need to have their hypothyroidism controlled before they can go for treatment, so regardless of which option there will be some tablet giving.
In my hands thyroidectomy or long term medication seem to be the best options.

chemenger Tue 04-Feb-14 08:51:04

Just to give some balance to my radioiodine evangelism, the vet I saw at the time had three cats who were or had been hyperthyroid, one she had on long term medication, because it was an easy cat to pill, one had had a thyroidectomy and one had had iodine treatment, it does depend on the cat. If it has any other health issues the iodine treatment will probably be ruled out. They do a very thorough MOT of the cat before it is accepted onto the iodine treatment. They do say that if there is a serious problem in the first few days they can't treat the cat and will put it down, but given that it will have had the most thorough checkup of its life just before the chances are small that something that serious will come up.

Our cat was 14 at the time and was otherwise in good condition, no kidney disease, no diabetes but is not handleable - unless she is a remarkably good mood vets don't generally attempt to pill her, never mind me. Pilling her daily and bringing her in for regular checks (which would probably have involved sedation) was just not a viable option. We managed to stabilise her on medication by hiding it in treats but that wasn't going to work for ever. Iodine treatment was good for her because there is minimal contact with people.

Two years on and at her last check up the vet said she was remarkably healthy for her age and "shows every sign of living for ever", which given how unpleasant she is was a bit of a blow.

TamzinGrey Tue 04-Feb-14 20:07:20

Our girl had the radioiodine treatment when she was 16. Best decision ever - it gave her a completely new lease of life and, two years on, she is in amazingly good condition for her age.

She had it done at a clinic in Canterbury, and it was a condition that she remained there for 4 weeks until she was not radioactive any longer. We really worried about this aspect but, as she had a severe allergy to the thyroid meds, and the operation was deemed too risky given her condition, there really was no other option. I was in floods of tears when I left her, but the nurses were really lovely to her and sent me daily bulletins.

If I ever have another hyperthyroid cat I wouldn't hesitate to go down the same route.

Passmethecrisps Tue 04-Feb-14 22:47:42

Thank you everyone for your balanced views. She is such a tiny wee thing we really need her to gain more weight before subjecting her to anything.
I will report back!

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