Radioactive Iodine treatment….risks to owners with thyroid disease

Waken2

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jan 23, 2022
Messages
3
Purraise
8
My cat, Button, is borderline hyperthyroid. The vet will retest in a few months and suggests radioactive iodine treatment if T4 rises. I’m all for it as it is the best solution. My concern: I am hypothyroid and am concerned about the gamma and beta radiation that she will be emitting for several weeks and it’s impact on my thyroid. There is no one else in the household that can take care of her.

Has anyone with hypothyroidism (and/or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) cared for their cat after radioactive iodine treatment? Did you have any issues…what did you do?

thanks.
 

neely

May the purr be with you
Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
14,949
Purraise
33,514
Welcome to TCS! :hellosmiley: Our cat had the I-131 treatment last month and I'm happy to report doing well. :crossfingers: I used Methimazole in the transdermal gel form prior to making the decision for him to have the radioactive iodine treatment. Since your cat is borderline hyperthyroid this might be a good option for you although it is not a cure. I'm guessing your vet recommended the I-131 because your cat does not have any other organ involvement or serious health issues. Is that correct?

Regarding your concern about emitting radiation you can set up a separate room with Button's litter box, food/water bowl and toys. Our cat stayed at the veterinary specialty center where he received his treatment for five days. Since he is the only pet we were told he could have the run of the house but we could not come in close contact, (3 1/2 ft.), for anymore than 30 min. p/day. That is the reason I suggested possibly keeping Button in a separate room until it is safe for her to be with you, i.e. two weeks. There are other precautions to follow regarding disposal of litter or using flushable litter which our vet provided and wearing proper disposable gloves also provided by our vet. One more thing I'd like to suggest is that should you decide for your cat to have the I-131 be sure the facility does scintigraphy prior to the treatment. This is very important and not all facilities do it. It would probably be in your best interest to contact the physician who is treating your hypothyroidism and discuss your personal health concerns with them.

Best of luck! I hope you can find the best solution for both Button and you. 🤗
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

Waken2

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jan 23, 2022
Messages
3
Purraise
8
Thanks for very much for this information. i just received the information about Buttons blood results showing elevated T4 and all other results looked good. My veterinarian wants to do a month on Methimazole so we can test kidney function, heart, etc. She recommends the I-131 as it is a cure while Methimazole has side effects. I am sure there are cat owners who are hypothyroid who have had their cats treated with I-131 but i have not found any nor any articles that speak to this issue. If my physician sees no significant issues I will get Buttons hyperthyroid treated with I-131 and I do plan on trying to keep Button in a separate room to minimize contact. My biggest concern is cleaning the cat waste (beta radiation is biggest threat to my thyroid) and that Button will be depressed being alone.
 

Antonio65

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
4,856
Purraise
7,220
Location
Orbassano - Italy
The contact with Button's waste will be reduced to a few minutes a day.
You will be scooping his litter box twice a day, for a few seconds per time, so I think that your exposure to the radiation will close to zero.

You could also line the litter box with those plastic sheets that you can wrap up and dispose of without even using the scoop.
The waste will be collected in a different bin that the one you use for your house waste, a bin that can be placed farther from your house. This "special" waste has to sit for a few weeks before being collected by your city service.

Use disposable gloves every time you have to handle Button's waste, to minimize the risk of direct contact with your skin. And always wash your hands after that.

Button's being and feeling alone is another concern, but I have no solution for this, sorry.

When my cat was treated with I-131, I received a set of instructions and precautions to be followed for 4 weeks, including not to handle my cat for longer than 10 minutes a day and leave her in a separate room for these four weeks.
I completely disregarded this, but I was very careful with handling the litter box and storing the dirty litter in a different been for a long time.
 

susanm9006

Resident Cat Willow
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
10,258
Purraise
22,100
Location
Minnesota
I had a cat treated for hyperthyroid with the radioactive iodine Some years ago. She stayed at the clinic for two weeks and when she was released there were no restrictions relating to us being together. The only instructions were to hold her litter for the next two weeks before putting it in the trash. So I would do some further checking with the clinic that would do the treatment as well as with your own doctor. I am sure they will help with a plan to keep you both safe.
 

Antonio65

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
4,856
Purraise
7,220
Location
Orbassano - Italy
I love your comment…..”I completely disregarded this…”.
Of course I'm not advocating this behavior, I advise you to follow te vet's instructions as best as you can.
This is what I did, because I didn't want to give my cat more stress that she had already received during the medical treatment.
 

neely

May the purr be with you
Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
14,949
Purraise
33,514
Of course I'm not advocating this behavior, I advise you to follow te vet's instructions as best as you can. This is what I did, because I didn't want to give my cat more stress that she had already received during the medical treatment.
When we were told to limit contact with our cat to 30 min. per day I asked how do we do that? The radiology vet told us we don't need a stop watch, just use common sense. My husband would kill me if he knew I was writing this but here goes - 5 days after Carleton came home I went out for dinner with a few friends. When I came home my husband had a guilty look on his face. I asked what happened and he said, "Carleton jumped up on my lap and I didn't have the heart to shoo him off." I said, "how long was he on your lap?" When he answered about 5 minutes I teased him by saying, "Oh no, now you're going to have a radioactive body part!" I won't spell out which part I meant. :lol: I think we were both so worried about the radiation but in reality people don't realize they are exposed to radiation in their daily lives. The earth, air and water we drink all contain small amounts of background radiation.
 
Top