Radioiodine Treatment of 524 Cats with Hyperthyroidism

Peterson M.E. and Becker D.V.

J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1995. 207(11): p.1422-8.


OBJECTIVE–To evaluate a protocol for subcutaneous radioiodine treatment of cats with hyperthyroidism in which the dose was determined on the basis of severity of the cat’s clinical signs, thyroid tumor size, and magnitude of the serum thyroxine (T4) concentration. DESIGN–Prospective case series. ANIMALS–524 cats with hyperthyroidism. PROCEDURE–A scoring system based on 3 factors (severity of clinical signs, size of the thyroid gland, and magnitude of the serum T4 concentration) was used to select the dose of radioiodine to be administered subcutaneously. RESULTS–On the basis of the scoring system, 310 (59%) cats were treated with a low dose of radioiodine (< 3.5 mCi; median, 3.0 mCi), 158 (30%) were treated with a moderate dose (3.5 to 4.4 mCi; median, 4.0 mCi), and 56 (11%) were treated with a high dose (> or = 4.5 mCi; median, 5.0 mCi). At time of discharge from the hospital, serum T4 concentration was still high in 80 (15.3%) cats, but by 6 months after administration of radioiodine, the serum T4 concentration had decreased to within or below reference range in all but 8 (1.5%) cats with persistent hyperthyroidism. Many cats had low serum T4 concentrations at some time after radioiodine treatment, but only 11 (2.1%) cats developed clinical and clinicopathologic features of hypothyroidism and required supplementation with L-thyroxine. Thirteen (2.5%) cats had a relapse of hyperthyroidism 1.1 to 6.5 years after initial radioiodine treatment. Overall, the response to treatment was considered good in 94.2% of the cats. Median survival time in the cats was 2.0 years; the percentage of cats alive after 1, 2, and 3 years of treatment was 89, 72, and 52%, respectively. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS–Results of the study suggest that this method of dose estimation works well and that subcutaneous administration of radioiodine provides a safe and effective means of treating hyperthyroidism in cats.