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Survival times for cats with hyperthyroidism treated with iodine 131, methimazole, or both: 167 cases (1996–2003)

Rowan J. Milner BVSc, MMedVet (Med)1, Carla D. Channell BS2, Julie K. Levy DVM, PhD, DACVIM3, and Michael Schaer DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC4
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0126.

Abstract

Objective—To compare survival times for cats with hyperthyroidism treated with iodine 131, methimazole, or both and identify factors associated with survival time.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—167 cats.

Procedure—Medical records of cats in which hyperthyroidism had been confirmed on the basis of high serum thyroxine concentration, results of thyroid scintigraphy, or both were reviewed.

Results—55 (33%) cats were treated with 131I alone, 65 (39%) were treated with methimazole followed by 131I, and 47 (28%) were treated with methimazole alone. Twenty-four of 166 (14%) cats had preexisting renal disease, and 115 (69%) had preexisting hepatic disease. Age was positively correlated (r = 0.4) with survival time, with older cats more likely to live longer. Cats with preexisting renal disease had significantly shorter survival times than did cats without preexisting renal disease. When cats with preexisting renal disease were excluded, median survival time for cats treated with methimazole alone (2.0 years; interquartile range [IQR], 1 to 3.9 years) was significantly shorter than median survival time for cats treated with 131I alone (4.0 years; IQR, 3.0 to 4.8 years) or methimazole followed by 131I (5.3 years; IQR, 2.2 to 6.5 years).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that age, preexisting renal disease, and treatment type were associated with survival time in cats undergoing medical treatment of hyperthyroidism.

Abstract

Objective—To compare survival times for cats with hyperthyroidism treated with iodine 131, methimazole, or both and identify factors associated with survival time.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—167 cats.

Procedure—Medical records of cats in which hyperthyroidism had been confirmed on the basis of high serum thyroxine concentration, results of thyroid scintigraphy, or both were reviewed.

Results—55 (33%) cats were treated with 131I alone, 65 (39%) were treated with methimazole followed by 131I, and 47 (28%) were treated with methimazole alone. Twenty-four of 166 (14%) cats had preexisting renal disease, and 115 (69%) had preexisting hepatic disease. Age was positively correlated (r = 0.4) with survival time, with older cats more likely to live longer. Cats with preexisting renal disease had significantly shorter survival times than did cats without preexisting renal disease. When cats with preexisting renal disease were excluded, median survival time for cats treated with methimazole alone (2.0 years; interquartile range [IQR], 1 to 3.9 years) was significantly shorter than median survival time for cats treated with 131I alone (4.0 years; IQR, 3.0 to 4.8 years) or methimazole followed by 131I (5.3 years; IQR, 2.2 to 6.5 years).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that age, preexisting renal disease, and treatment type were associated with survival time in cats undergoing medical treatment of hyperthyroidism.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Milner.

Supported by the Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Program.