Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder affecting cats. It creates a wide range of symptoms resulting from the overproduction of thyroid hormones.
Hyperthyroidism occurs most commonly in middle age to older cats with the median age for acquiring the disorder just under 13 years.
Radioactive iodine therapy is quickly becoming the treatment of choice for cats with hyperthyroidism. During treatment, radioactive iodine is administered as an injection. The iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland but not by other body tissues. The radiation destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue.
The advantages of radioactive iodine therapy are that the procedure is curative, has no serious side effects, and does not require anesthesia. It does, however, involve the handling and injection of a radioactive substance that is only permitted at facilities specially licensed to use radioisotopes. The radioactivity carries no significant risk for the cat, but precautionary protective measures are required for people who come into contact with the treated cats.
When cats receive treatment, they must be isolated at the clinic for 2-14 days, depending on the dose they receive. When your cat is released from the clinic, they will still be radioactive when they get home. Your veterinarian will advise that your cat remain isolated at home for an extended period of time to avoid exposure to family.
When I131(radioactive iodine) leaves your pet’s body through urine, feces , perspiration and saliva, it causes contamination. If it comes in contact with people, it may be absorbed and enter their thyroid. Pregnant women and small children should be especially cautious around potentially contaminated areas.
The litter box may be a major point of contamination and must be cleaned properly. Just as with people, RAI for cats will release radioactive iodine through perspiration. Unlike people, cats sweat mainly through their paws. Any place your cat may walk or climb should be decontaminated. Cats, being the agile animals that they are jump onto and walk across furniture, beds, countertops, etc. As they do this, they are likely contaminating these surfaces with radioactive iodine.
Cats bathe themselves by licking their fur; the evaporation of saliva from their fur also helps to cool the cat. This frequent “bathing” will also cause contamination of their fur from saliva. Because of this, your hands may become contaminated when handling your pet. Using Bind-It Hand Soap regularly over the course of the treatment period will reduce the risk of second hand exposure to family.
What is the best way to clean up any possible contamination from RAI for Cats?
Cleaning with bleach or acidic cleansers can cause iodine to become airborne. This has the potential to spread contamination beyond your cat’s isolation area.
The best way to clean is with Bind-It. Bind-It is safe, gentle and extremely effective at binding, trapping and allowing radioactive iodine to be removed from most surfaces and skin. It is extremely effective while at the same time being safe and gentle.