The Hospital Stay
What happens after the consultation?
We will keep your cat the same day as the consultation. A nuclear pharmacy in Seattle delivers the individual doses of I-131 later the same afternoon. I-131 is administered as a single subcutaneous injection. It can be injected under the skin anywhere on the body as only thyroid tissue absorbs I-131. Your cat will not feel pain or discomfort.
How long will my cat be in the hospital?
Once admitted for therapy, your cat cannot be discharged until its radiation exposure rate is at or below the level determined by the state. Cats will remain in the hospital as little as one night and as long as 10 nights. . The average stay is 2-3 nights, but after the consultation, when your cat’s dose has been determined using the lab work and the actual measurement of your cat’s thyroid glands, we will be able to give you an estimated discharge date range based on your cat's dose of 131I. Cats having high thyroid levels or very large thyroid tumors usually require larger iodine doses and therefore may need to remain hospitalized longer.
You must be able to pick up your cat on the day of their release; we do not have space available for boarding beyond the hospital stay. We are open for patient discharge Mon-Fri from 8:00 to 5:30(until 5:00 p.m at Tacoma location) and Saturdays from 8:00 to 4:00.
My cat does not do well away from home. What do you do to keep cats comfortable?
As a feline-only facility, we are accustomed to catering to feline needs.
- Since we see only cats, your cat will not be able to smell or see dogs, a common source of feline stress.
- Your cat is being cared for by doctors and staff that have specifically chosen to work with cats.
- Our hospital compartments are individually ventilated. All expired air is removed from the building. This decreases odors and stress pheromones as well as decreasing the incidence of infectious respiratory diseases.
- The nuclear ward is separate from the main hospital making it a "quiet zone".
- For especially nervous cats, we can provide a privacy curtain and/or a hiding box.
- We can also use Feliway, a feline pheromone, which has a calming affect for most cats.
- Fresh food and water are available at all times. Please inform us of any likes or dislikes or special dietary needs that your cat may have, so we can make their stay as comfortable as possible.
- No personal items are allowed to be with your cat, but rest assured that we do provide blankets and/or a bed. Your cat will tell us what they prefer.
- We also offer safe anti-anxiety medications for your cat daily.
May I visit my cat while it's in the hospital?
No; state regulations do not permit clients in the radiation ward. Toys, blankets, or dishes from home are also not permitted because they would become contaminated and create more radioactive waste to be disposed of.
How will I find out about my cat's condition while in the hospital?
We will call you daily between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. during your cats’ hospitalization. Of course we will call you to discuss any problems or complications, should they occur.
When my cat is ready to come home, what do I have to do?
During the initial consultation, Dr. Vaughan will provide you with a timeline specifically tailored to your cat. Always transport your cat home in a carrier in case he/she chooses to urinate/defecate/vomit on the way home. If your cat will be traveling by plane, Dr. Vaughan will inform you at the initial exam when the anticipated discharge day will be. You will need to arrange the courier and the return flight. Charges for airfare and courier service will be taken care of by you.