Once your cat has been diagnosed as hyperthyroid there are many options available for treatment. Radioactive iodine therapy is usually the best option and we are proud to be the only clinic on Vancouver Island to offer this referral service. If you have questions about the treatment or care they receive please feel free to contact us for further information.
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Our I-131 facility is located at our Hollywood location in Fairfield. For those of you coming from out of town, Fairfield is a quiet residential area close to the beach. The I-131 ward is designed specifically for I-131 use with larger than normal kennels and items that are used only in the I-131 ward such as litter boxes and food dishes. We are staffed during the daytime Monday - Saturday and our staff come in on Sunday to care for the animals.
The cats listen to music and watch tv while they are with us. While there are sometimes multiple cats they cannot see eachother from their kennels. Each kennel is split in half, with one side allowing for litter and the other for beds. We supply our own litter boxes, litter and food bowls.
This is a picture of the I-131 ward kennels. As you can see they are much larger than regular hospital kennels and are designed with both the comfort of the cats and the safety of the staff in mind. A door seperates the sides of the kennel which is left open at all times except when cleaning the kennel.
What to Bring
While we can provide everything your cat needs there are some things from home you may wish to bring to make your cats stay more comfortable. Please take note that items taken into the I-131 ward are not returnable. Kennels your cat arrive in are kept separately and will be returned with the cat upon pickup.
Food: We can provide a wide range of options for your cats mealtime but if they are picky eaters, have sensitive stomachs or allergies we ask that you bring 7 days worth of their regular food. Please bring the food in plastic bags or containers that are disposable. Most cats find it easier to have familiar food here.
Blankets and Toys: You are welcome to bring a blanket or item that smells of home. Old t-shirts and bath towels work well. Toys are also accepted. We have a large selection of blankets and various toys from mice to rattle balls and treat dispensing toys.
Cats, as you most likely know, thrive on routine. During the first 24-48 hours of your cats arrival they see the routine we have here and once settled into the routine we see many cats become quite the characters.
Our staff arrive in the mornings and each cat is greeted, the litter boxes are changed, the kennels cleaned and fresh food and water is provided. We may offer a different toy or turn on the tv instead of the radio. We are frequently in and out of the room during the day and change litter boxes as necessary. Just before we leave for the night the food, water and litter is checked again.
In compliance with the Nuclear Commission Board of Canada we give as much love as we are allowed but we must maintain limited contact with the cats during their stay. Most cats are happy to visit with us during our daily feedings and don't miss the close contact of cuddles.
We will call owners on Monday and Thursdays to give updates and go over any questions you might have. Owners are welcome to call us Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings if they wish.
The I-131 Treatment
All cats arriving for treatment must be here by 2pm Wednesdays. This allows us to give the cats a full physical exam and get them settled in their kennel. The I-131 is given by subcutaneous injection between the shoulder blades late Wednesday afternoon. The I-131 is monitored and drawn up by 2 nuclear technicians who come to us from our local hospitals. Once prepared the veterinarian gives the injection.
Assuming cats have reached the safe and legal level of radiation they are discharged on the following Wednesday at 4:30pm. For owners driving for longer than 3 hours or those with restrictions, special arrival and release times can be made if notified in advance.
Driving down from up island : These directions start in Port Hardy
Once you have your cat home again there are a few simple instructions to follow to maintain radiation safety and legal requirements. We do recommend that children, pregnant women and those currently undergoing thyroid treatment do not take part in the care of the cats during these 2 weeks and if you have any concerns discuss the situation with your doctor ahead of time.
Cats must stay inside for 2 weeks. As the majority of the radiation is emited through the urine it would be inappropiate to allow your cat to urinate outside as other people or animals might come in contact with it.
Cats should not sleep in your lap or around your neck. To limit exposure cats shouldn't be sleeping on you for 2 weeks after they arrive home.
All soiled litter must be kept for 2 weeks. It is a illegal to dispose of radioactive waste. Keep litter in heavy duty garbage bags or bins for 2 weeks. Once this time has passed it can be disposed of as normal.
If you have concerns about any of these instructions please speak with us, quite often we can come up with alternative suggestions.
Follow-up Thyroid Testing
You should schedule a recheck exam and thyroid testing with your regular veterinarian 30 days post treatment. If all is going well it should be tested again at 3, 6 and 12 months. Yearly rechecks are recommened after that.