Cat Owners

During Radio-iodine

During radio-iodine treatment

No doubt you’ll be curious to know what will happen to your cat while he or she is an in-patient at our radio-iodine treatment centre.

How long does your cat need to stay?

Immediately after their radio-iodine capsule or injection, your cat must stay in our specialist centre for at least 4 days, because they’re too radioactive to be at home any sooner. Sometimes, your cat will stay with us for longer:

  • Your cat – Cats vary as to how quickly their radiation levels drop. The key to this is how well they recover their appetite, because it’s through using their litter tray that they get rid of the radiation.
  • You – You might be unable to care for your cat properly at home at first, because you might not have a spare room where you can isolate them at first, or your might have small children at home.

Your treatment fee will cover you for up to 14 days at our centre; beyond that, we offer a very competitive daily rate. A few cats stay with us for up to 4 weeks if their owners can’t have them back at home right away. If you’re claiming on pet insurance, check with your insurer: some will cover the full 4 weeks.

Charlie enjoying one of our low radiation pens

What will your cat’s room be like?

Your cat might have 2 rooms during their stay:

  • Immediately after their treatment – Your cat will be on our ‘high radiation’ ward, for a few days. These pens contain a bed, food & water, and a litter tray. Your cat will be checked regularly during the day, but handling by our team will be kept to a minimum due to initial high radiation levels.
  • After 4-5 days – If your cat doesn’t go home immediately (depending on their radiation level, or whether you ask us to keep them for longer), they’ll move into our ‘low radiation’ ward. Here, they’ll have a bigger room with an upstairs and a downstairs connected by a ramp, a bed, food & water, and a litter tray.

How will your cat cope?

Cats are usually sedated when treated with radio-iodine, because of the radiation safety risk to our team. When they recover from this sedation, cats usually have no idea what’s happened – the procedure is simply giving a capsule or an injection, so there’s no surgery to recover from. Many will immediately tuck into a big bowl of food; some take a little time to recover their appetite, in which case we will break out the tuna and chicken to encourage them!

Is your cat on any medication?

If your cat is taking any medication other than for their hyperthyroidism, or if they need a particular diet, please ensure that you bring enough to last throughout your cat’s entire stay. Most ‘ASAP’ cats can go home from 4 days after treatment, but it might be sensible to bring enough for 2 weeks, just in case.

Can you visit your cat?

We don’t usually encourage visiting. To be honest, it’s a bit pointless: you won’t be able to go near your cat, because he or she will be radioactive. However, we will keep you updated regularly about how your cat is doing and when in our low radiation wards, we can take photographs of your cat and email them to you if you would like us to.

Can your cat bring a ‘suitcase’?

You’re very welcome to bring comforts or distractions for your cat, such as toys, scratching posts, or favourite bedding. However, you almost certainly won’t be able to take them away again, as they will become contaminated with radioactivity, so please don’t bring anything precious.

Hector - hyperthyroid cat now cured using radio-iodine

Hector found the brief confinement while radio-active worthwhile, and now is free to come and go as he pleases for many years ahead