The NWVC team are proud to be one of the few veterinary clinics in Victoria that offers Radioactive Iodine (RI) Therapy for cats – a safe and effective treatment option for Hyperthyroidism in our feline friends.

Miss Ebony, a 12-year-old Domestic Shorthair spent the week with us to undergo RI therapy. After being diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism back in July, she made the trip to us last month for treatment.

Hyperthyroidism is a disease of older cats, caused by excessive secretion of thyroid hormone by abnormal thyroid cells in a (usually) benign nodule or growth in one or both thyroid glands. Thyroid glands are located in the neck and are responsible for the production of hormones involved in metabolism, growth and development.

Elevated thyroid hormone levels cause increased metabolism and other common clinical signs of Hyperthyroidism; weight loss, appetite changes, increased water consumption, vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid heart rate, heart murmur, elevated blood pressure, increased vocalisation, muscle weakness and poor hair coat – although not all cats experience all of these symptoms. Hyperthyroidism tends to be a gradual onset disorder, with many cats losing weight slowly over several months or a few years.

If left untreated, the increased metabolism will eventually cause organ failure (heart, kidney and blindness due to retinal detachment) and premature death. We do not currently know why Hyperthyroidism is such a common disorder in older cats.

There are a number of methods for treating this condition. However, the only permanent method which does not involve surgery is with the use of radioactive iodine. Treatment with radioactive iodine is a very safe procedure, is not at all painful and has no serious side effects. It is well recognised as the best way to treat this disease and is used by veterinarians world-wide. It is the same treatment that is often used for people suffering from Hyperthyroidism.

The treatment is simple, but because it involves the use of a radioactive substance, in this case a capsule, there are strict regulations regarding how it can be given and how the patient is to be handled. It must be done be a veterinarian trained and qualified in the handling of radioactive materials.

We’re pleased to report that Ebony’s therapy was successful, and she is doing well at home. She will return to her usual veterinarian for follow up appointments in the coming weeks – we can’t wait to hear how Ebby progresses. All the best!