Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I131 Hyperthyroid Treatment

Vante is doing great!  We all moved to a small townhouse in Las Vegas and Vante has the run of all downstairs.  The other two cats have all upstairs.  It's working out quite well.  We bought a baby gate to keep them separated and nobody has jumped over it yet.  They all seem to respect it (thank-goodness).
Callie Mae at the bottom of the stairs looking into the first floor.

It's been 15 months since Vante was diagnosed as being hyperthyroid.  She has been doing really well on her pills.  She gets a whole pill in the morning and half a pill at night, 12 hours later.  Both are tucked inside Pill Pockets and she seems to like them quite well. My husband and I are vigilant about giving them to her, but occasionally we do forget (maybe once a month). 
The prescription medication that Vante takes.  (She likes it better than the white tablets, so I'm guessing it tastes better.)
We use a pillbox that indicates the AM/PM pills.  It helps us figure out at a glance if the other person has or has not given Vante her meds.

However, we are all moving across the country this summer to a small town in SC and it has spurred me into action.  Not to mention that my sister-in-law has been trying to talk me into doing this for months.  We're going to get Vante I131, or radioactive iodine treatment.  This treatment is only offered at select places and the vet clinic in Las Vegas where we're going is the only center for: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and half of California.  So I'm getting it done before we move away from Las Vegas because this is pretty much our only opportunity.

Vante loves fresh water.  Out of my glass is always her favorite.
Here is some basic information that the clinic's website provides:
"This is quickly becoming the treatment of choice in areas where it is available, and where the caregivers can afford it. A single injection of radioactive iodine (I131) is given subcutaneously. The substance "finds" and destroys all diseased tissue, including any ectopic thyroid cells without harming any normal tissue. The cat must remain in the veterinary hospital for two days until his radioactive levels are acceptable. Caregivers may be able to visit during that time, but will only be able to view their kitty through a special leaded window."
 Advantages:
  • Provides a permanent cure in 95% of cases.
  • Safe
  • Minimizes stress to the cat.
  • No serious side effects
Disadvantages:
  • Expensive (about the same as surgery)
  • The cat must be in otherwise good health prior to treatment
  • The subsequent development of hypothyroidism is a possibility, but it can be treated with thyroid supplementation.
 In order to get approved for this treatment I first made sure I had the money in place.  It is quite expensive, but Vante is my child, and worth it.

Then I took Vante to our normal veterinarian and we ran a full blood panel, a special thyroid blood test (T-4), urinalysis, and we took several full-body x-rays.  Vante passed these tests, but we found that her kidney values are in the red zone (again).  So we've taken her off the special diet to prevent crystals in the urine and switched her to a diet that is kinder on the kidneys.  We're going to test her for crystals in one month to see how the diet is affecting her urine.

Other than that point Vante passed her tests and is approved for the I131 treatment.  We scheduled her for the next available treatment, which is next week.  Somebody from their office will be calling me tomorrow to schedule a drop-off time and discuss when exactly to stop giving her her hyperthyroid medication.  I'll keep ya'll updated.
Vante got a new bed after the move & she loves it!

Enjoy the video clip of Vante being adorable.
video


On 11 April 2013 this post was edited to correct a mistake.  The radioactive iodine treatment is called I131, not R131.  Thanks Billi for catching my mistake!