Radioactive Iodine Therapy in Cats with Hyperthyroidism

Turrel JM, Feldman EC, Hays M, et al.

J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1984. 184(5): p. 554-9.

Eleven cats with hyperthyroidism were treated with radioactive iodine (131I). Previous unsuccessful treatments for hyperthyroidism included hemithyroidectomy (2 cats) and an antithyroid drug (7 cats). Two cats had no prior treatment. Thyroid scans, using technetium 99m, showed enlargement and increased radionuclide accumulation in 1 thyroid lobe in 5 cats and in both lobes in 6 cats. Serum thyroxine concentrations were high and ranged from 4.7 to 18 micrograms/dl. Radioactive iodine tracer studies were used to determine peak radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) and effective and biological half-lives. Activity of 131I administered was calculated from peak RAIU, effective half-life, and estimated thyroid gland weight. Activity of 131I administered ranged from 1.0 to 5.9 mCi. The treatment goal was to deliver 20,000 rad to hyperactive thyroid tissue. However, retrospective calculations based on peak RAIU and effective half-life obtained during the treatment period showed that radiation doses actually ranged from 7,100 to 64,900 rad. Complete ablation of the hyperfunctioning thyroid tissue and a return to euthyroidism were seen in 7 cats. Partial responses were seen in 2 cats, and 2 cats became hypothyroid. It was concluded that 131I ablation of thyroid tumors was a reasonable alternative in the treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats. The optimal method of dosimetry remains to be determined.