Post Treatment Guidelines
What Precautions Do I Need To Take After Treatment?
For the first two weeks upon returning home, following these guidelines is advised to decrease your lifetime exposure to radiation. There are NO health risks to you, your family, or to your other pets.
- Keep your cat indoors or under direct supervision or a leash if outside. The concern is that a roaming cat will come in contact with other people. They will not contaminate the earth with radioactive waste.
- We advise close contact (closer than 1 foot) should be limited to one hour per day. The dose you are exposed to is extremely low and will have no medical consequences. We are attempting to minimize your lifetime cumulative exposure.
- There is no risk for other pets. Your cat can share the litter box with other cats, can play, and sleep with other pets as usual.
For this two week period the litter must either be collected daily and stored.
TO STORE THE LITTER: Get a large bucket (5 gallon paint bucket) and line it with a trash liner. Scoop urine and feces into the bucket daily. At the end of the two weeks, the entire contents of the litter box should be emptied into the bucket. Put lid on bucket and store in garage, basement, or utility room for 80 days. DO NOT dispose of the litter prior to 80 days; garbage dumps have radiation detectors and will charge you a hefty fine if radiation is detected.
- Wash your hands carefully after handling your cat; litterpan and food dishes.
- Do not allow children or pregnant women to have contact with your cat.
- To minimize your lifetime cumulative exposure, we advise you against sleeping with your cat.
These precautions seem like my cat is hazardous to me. How dangerous is it?
The amount of radiation remaining in your cat is extremely low. A hyperthyroid person having radioiodine treatment typically receives up to up ten times the dose your cat will receive, goes home the same day treatment was given, and contact restrictions are limited to a day or two. The amount of radiation you might receive from exposure to your cat after they have been treated would be equivalent to the radiation received when you fly(atmospheric radiation) round trip across the country.
How quickly will this treatment cure my cat's hyperthyroidism?
The short answer: Within 1 to 3 months.
The long answer: At 1 and 3 months after the treatment, an exam and a blood test for thyroid and kidney function should be done by your veterinarian. The 1 month level thyroid may be slightly high, low or normal. During this first month your cat generally shows no side effects as it returns to its original prehyperthyroid status, a very rare cat may be mildly sluggish, sleep more and eat less. Excessive shedding may also occur (rarely). These signs are all related to correction of the thyroid hormone imbalance. The 3 month T4 test should no longer be elevated. Any signs persisting after the T4 is normal are most likely due to other medical problems that need to be identified and treated by your veterinarian.