Advanced Techniques & Specialist Procedures

Advanced Techniques & Specialist Procedures

Since its establishment as the first veterinary school in the English-speaking world, the RVC has pioneered new veterinary techniques and procedures. We are at the forefront of advancements in veterinary surgery and medicine. Many treatments that our leading specialists pioneer eventually become established in veterinary services around the world, benefiting animals everywhere.

Advanced Technique

Radioactive Iodine therapy

RVC small animal referrals is the largest of a limited number of veterinary centres in the UK authorised to administer radioactive iodine treatment to cats with hyperthyroidism.

The radioactive isotope, Iodine-131 (131I), resolves hyperthyroidism painlessly by destroying abnormal thyroid cells. A single injection is successful in around 95% of the cats we treat. Our specialists inject the substance under the skin at the scruff of the neck.

The 131I concentrates in the thyroid gland where it emits beta-radiation, killing the surrounding hyper-functioning cells. Any 131I that is not concentrated in the thyroid gland is eliminated in urine, saliva and sweat in the first couple of days following the injection. The remainder of the 131I is gradually eliminated through the normal process of thyroid hormone turnover.

Post-treatment care

As it takes weeks for all radioactive material to be eliminated, cats must stay in our isolation facility until most of the radioactivity has passed. All cats must stay in our isolation facility for a minimum of two weeks following the injection. Cats may then remain at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals for an additional two weeks or can be discharged home after two weeks if the owner is able to ensure certain conditions are met. 

More information

A PDF document for cat owners about hyperthyroidism and radioactive iodine treatment can be downloaded here.  A document for referring veterinary surgeons can be found here.