Feline Hyperthyroidism is a disease that commonly occurs in middle aged to geriatric cats. Hyperthyroidism is a result of the thyroid gland overproducing the hormone T4. The excessive T4 causes the metabolic rate to increase and the thyroid gland to become enlarged. Cats that hay hyperthyroidism typically show symptoms of increased appetite while losing weight, excessive thirst and urination, and sometimes hairloss.
Feline Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed by checking the levels of T4 and T3 from a blood sample. Cats with hyperthyroidism frequently experience a reduced quality of life due to weight loss, muscle deterioration, chronic vomiting or diarrhea. In addition, some hyperthyroid cats present less visible signs of the disease such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Left untreated, these problems can result in heart failure, sudden blindness, or sudden death. However, these conditions can be prevented with timely treatment for thyroid disease.
About The Thyroid Gland
The Thyroid gland is composed of two lobes located on each side of the wind pipe. This gland produces the hormones T3 (Triiodothronine) and T4 (Thyroxine) which are responsile for maintaining the body's normal metabolic rate. Once T4 is released from the gland, it is absorbed by the body's tissues and then converted into T3. T3 affects every cell of the body because it affects how hard and fast those cells work.
Radiotherapy for Feline Hyperthyroidism
Radiotherapy is the safest and most effective method of treatment for feline hyperthyroidism. In this non-invasive treatment, the hyperthyroid cat s injected under the skin with radioactive iodine (Radioiodine or I-131). The radioiodine then seeks and destroys abnormal thyroid tissue without endangering other organs. This injection allows the thyroid gland to return to normal function. While most cats regulate their thyroid levels within one month, a small number can take up to three months. By law, the treated cat must stay with us for at least 3 days post treatment. This ensures radiation levels are sufficiently safe for the cat to be with their owners.
Treatment Facility Staff
The radioiodine therapy is performed under the direction of Dr. Royce Roberts and Dr. Mary Schick. Dr. Roberts is the consulting Radiation Oncologist. His a diplomate of the American Academy of Veterinary Radiology, and professor of Radiology, at the College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia. Dr. Roberts has been engaged in treating animal cancer with radiation since 1970 and has treated more than 500 hyperthyroid cats since 1986. He has been a teaching faculty member at Texas A&M University, Auburn University, University of Tennessee, Mississippi State University, and the University of Georgia.
Dr. Mary P. Schick earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology and her veterinary medical degree from Texas A&M University. She completed her internship at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, and completed her residency in dermatology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schick taught veterinary dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine from 1993-1995. She has also worked in private referral dermatology practices on Long Island and Manhattan, New York. For the past 20 years, Dr. Mary Schick has run a private practice (Atlanta Animal Allergy and Dermatology) in Roswell. Dr. Schick is a board certified veterinary dermatologist. She is a member of many professional organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology where she has served on the executive board. Dr. Schick's scope of practice includes dermatology of all domestic and exotic animals. She specializes in diagnostic intradermal skin testing for inhalant allergies, as well as performing diagnostic laser surgery for various skin defects and neoplasm's. Dr. Schick has worked with pharmaceutical companies on clinical trials of new medications and have published many articles in professional journals, and lectured at many local and national meetings on topics in veterinary dermatology.
Pre and Post Treatment Requirements
Two weeks prior to being admitted to the hyperthyroid treatment facility the patient should have a baseline T4 level blood test run.
Additionally, no anti thyroid medications can be given for at least 3 days (preferable 5-7 days) before arrival at the treatment facility. The cat should be in a non-compromised condition and deemed a treatable condition by the referring veterinarian. An additional T4 level test should be run at approximately one-month post treatment at the referring veterinarian's hospital.