Frequently Asked Questions - Radioactive Iodine -131 (I-131)

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For a little background on our facility - we have been providing this service since 1999 (longest in Ontario). Our fee is inclusive which includes a follow up T4 ~10-12 months post treatment (sooner if required). Please call for current pricing. We ask that you go to your home clinic for the T4 check and we will pay them directly.

Q. How long does my cat need to stay at your facility?
Due to our licensing regulations we cannot release your cat for a minimum of 4 days post treatment i.e. Wednesday. However, this is dependent on dose and expected clearance. All animals must reach a specific radiation background (or below) before they are allowed to leave our facility (1mR/hr or 10uSv/hr). We will give you an idea of what we expect for your cat.

Q. How long must I keep the litter?
All litter must be kept for 14 days. You may switch to flushable litter for the two weeks if you think that this would help. You must flush the toilet twice (human requirement as well). This is allowed by the government.

Q. We have two other cats and a dog at home. Will we have to keep them completely separate after our cat returns home?
The restrictions are not for animal to animal contact so your cat can socialize with your other animals at all times.

Q. We have a multi-cat household. How do you manage the litter situation after the treatment?
If you have a garage/shed/balcony or area in the basement you do not frequent too often it can be stored there. You could use a larger garbage bin outside.

Q. What *are* the risks of the I-131 treatment?
There are no risks associated with I-131 itself. I-131 only targets thyroid tissue therefore it does not affect the other organs i.e. liver/kidneys etc. Hyperthyroidism masks true renal function so the concern that we have for some cats is once you remove the hyperthyroid state the kidney function could deteriorate. However, there are tests that can be done help determine his kidney function.

Q. Are we able to visit him during the day at all?
Due to our location and the nature of the treatment our site is considered a "closed" facility. However, we do send emails daily to provide you with updates on how your cat is doing. This helps keep the communication open if you have any questions while he is with us.

Q. What can I bring for my cat?
Food, toys, food dishes are all welcome. We also recommend some old towels or T-shirts with home scents - would even prefer if you slept in it. We think it really helps to have home/personal scents around them.

Q. Is there a consultation prior to admission or is it a case of assessing whether our cat is a candidate for treatment based on the tests results that our veterinarian sends you?
No consultation required for any of our cases. We work with your home vet via email/phone and or fax. We obtain necessary information from them and will recommend other tests if needed that can all be done through your home vet.

Q. Do you provide treatment on the day that our cat is dropped off? How early can we pick up our cat?
Yes, treatments are done on Saturday afternoon. Due to our licensing regulations we cannot release your cat for a minimum of 4 days post treatment i.e. Wednesday. However, this is dependent on dose and expected clearance. We will give you an idea of what we expect for your cat.

Q. In most cases, why do you wait 10-12 months post treatment to recheck our cats T4?
The T4 takes several months to level out. We look at the T4 10-12 months post treatment because the thyroid gland will have been working for about 3 months at its "new normal" and that's what value we need. However, each case is treated as an individual and at times we may recheck the T4 earlier.

Q. What happens if our cat becomes hyperthyroid again? Is there any form of guarantee?
Yes, we do guarantee our services. One of the reasons that we guarantee our services is that we treat conservatively so that we can maintain some healthy tissue. Our belief is that the cats (and humans) were given a thyroid gland for a reason so we like to retain some of that tissue.

Q. If a second treatment is required, how early would this occur?
For those cats that have been given our “step-dose” treatment we typically provide the 2nd injection 4-5 months after the initial dose. For all cases: A second iodine dose cannot occur until after 12 weeks from the first dose.

Q. My cat will be on medication during her time with you. Can she still be given her medication?
All of my staff are veterinary technicians with many years experience. You must bring all medications and instructions for you cat. We will follow the administration schedule provided.

Q. Where are you located?
Please have a look at this section on our website. We also highly recommend you look at Google Earth to familiarize yourself with a "visual" of our location. You will notice a wooden gazebo half way down the lane. We ask people to park close to there so that we know which vehicle to approach. You will need to call us when you arrive as the facility is locked on weekends. You will be provided with the cell phone number of a technician working that day.

Thames Valley Veterinary Services
London, Ontario
Copyright © 2006