Willows is home to one of the country’s few Specialist-led Radioactive Iodine (RAI) services providing expert treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism.
Radioactive Iodine is the safest and most effective treatment for hyperthyroidism, and, unlike medical therapy with tablets, RAI cures hyperthyroidism meaning that there is no need for lifelong medications.
Our RAI patients stay with us for 15 days in our specialised RAI unit following the administration of the RAI injection (which is like a vaccine) in order to monitor their progress and minimise the people who are exposed to the radiation – it’s a fully-catered feline holiday!
Our RAI patients are rather special, and they do tend to love having as much attention as possible – who could blame them when our dedicated nursing team are on hand to tend to all their feline needs. Not only that, we have our very own crazy cat lady in the form of Internal Medicine Specialist Laura Bree, who has somewhat of a penchant for elderly cats!
To celebrate our fabulous RAI patients, we are super excited to launch our ‘Year of Hyperthyroid Cats’, sharing with you our feline residents’ stories each month.
Gaz (top right and centre) a 16-year-old charmer, found himself the only gentleman among three lovely ladies. As an older fellow, he had a number of concurrent ailments that were being managed by his Medicine Specialist in London. Not one to give anyone an easy time of it, Gaz unfortunately had a reaction to his thyroid medications. With the joint efforts of his Specialist in London and our Specialist Laura here at Willows, Gaz was soon ‘feline fine’ and we were able to discharge him, ready to get back to his busy schedule of eating, sleeping and having some rubs. We wish him very well in his recovery at home!
Lilly, is our stunning eight year old silver tabby and the youngest lady amongst this group of residents. She is a very independent lady, settling in quickly and learning the best way to get a few rubs off our Medicine Nurses. We are so pleased to share that Lilly went home with a normal thyroid level after her two weeks stay with us. She has already given her owners a fright by sneaking out whilst she should have been in isolation, luckily, she was caught in time and had already done her business in her tray!
Smudge, a colourful and beautiful lady who is almost 15 years old, was quite a challenging case to treat, as she has a five-year history of hyperthyroidism. Smudge had been receiving oral therapy for her disease and had gradually become resistant to medications over the past 12 months.
For some patients who have developed a resistance to medications, it can mean that the overactive thyroid gland has become more cancerous, or that they may have a very high burden of disease, which no longer responds to oral therapy. Fortunately, our Specialist team are experts in dealing with either possible scenario. Smudge’s post treatment results indicate that whilst she is ‘less’ hyperthyroid after her RAI therapy, her thyroid levels are still too high.
In many cats with severe hyperthyroidism there is a lag period after iodine therapy, where the thyroid hormone will continue to decline over the coming four weeks. In order to reduce Smudge’s thyroid levels further she may require a second round of therapy. However, we are keeping our fingers and toes crossed for Smudge that one treatment will suffice – even although we would secretly love to see her again for rubs, as she has been a real pleasure to treat.
Our final resident of the group is Cocheese, a 14-year-old long haired beauty. Cocheese kept us smiling with her posing looks, and her fascination with the port hole in her cat condo. Cocheese’s mum was worried as she tends to miss her ‘pawrents’ and not eat very well whilst separated from her family. Fortunately, Cocheese ate better than we expected during her stay and she settled into her new routine well. She has now been reunited with her family, and we are so happy to share that she has with a normal thyroid hormone, and we wish her the very best.
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