After radioiodine treatment...timescales?

I had my radioiodine treatment on Friday...the card they gave me said i can't share a bed with my partner until 19th December (got treatment on Friday 6th Dec), i wasn't expecting it to be so long. The nurse said after the remaining iodine has left my system (4 days) I can hug my fiancé briefly again. I'm wondering about the cats...i'm keeping my distance until it's out of my system (4 days) then I'm hoping I can give them a pat. I've already had to send Oscar (my old boy cat) to my folks cause he wouldn't stay away from me. I can't find any info. One doc said it didn't matter cause pets don't live long enough to be hurt by it but the other said it's a moral issue...if you wouldn't be near kids then the same rules should apply for pets. Any ideas folks?

18 Replies

  • Have you thought about maybe phoning the vet tomorrow? The old cat may genuinely not live long enough for it to be a concern, but might find separation more traumatic as he won't understand. Just a thought.

  • Thats a horrible thing to say - well as a cat lover I think it is. I agree with rose trees, ask the vet. I didn't realise you had to sleep alone etc for such a long time. Did you have to drive yourself to the hospital and back?

  • My vet said it was a non-issue re my 11yr old cat & 9 yr old dogs. Discourage licking but don't expect to succeed unless your pets are considerably more obedient than mine.

    The precautions with children, partners & pregnant women etc are 'just in case' something is discovered 30 years in the future that adversely affect health not because there are proven adverse effects now.

  • Thank you so much! This has answered a question I've been afraid to ask. I had RAI in 2012 and my 12 year old cat was so devastated when I tried to shut her out that I let her in earlier than I thought I should. Within the year she developed cancer in her stomach and died, and although the vet said it was her age and that it was probably there already, I've felt awful in case I was responsible. This has set my mind at ease.

  • Moggyme,

    I agree with your vet. My cat left home a year later but the two dogs are snoring away next to me as I type and are pretty well although they've slowed down a lot.

  • I don't drive so my fiancé drove me home but i had to sit diagonally in the back seat as far away as possible, it's just a 20 minute drive. Osc is only 11/12 so he could have a good few years left (i hope)....I think the radiation risks are more 10 years from exposure. Caley our girl cat is only 4 years old so I'd be more worried about her. I thought the sleeping alone bit was only for a week. Poor wee Caley looks sooo hurt every time i have to shoo her's heartbreaking :(

  • Oh and Osc's perfectly happy getting spoiled by his grandparents, he can even go out up there cause he's got their two young uns as his body guards, he was just so upset not being able to cuddle me while here. He's not exactly old and rubbish, you'd never know his age if you weren't told

  • I live in Italy and here I was isolated for 6 weeks from my family in the house. That included my pets. They take it seriously here and I wasn't allowed to go shopping, work, use public loos, take public transport in case I came into contact with any children or pregnant women and had to sleep alone and use separate towels etc. My vet here told me to stay away from our pets for at least 15 days. Whether this was all a bit over the top I don't know.

  • We'll look at it this way it's not for life is it? Just a few days in the scheme of things. I understand it's difficult, I have pets too but better a few days of abstanance than anything else this problem can throw at you. It'll all be over before Christmas. I wish you well and a happy Christmas.

  • Hiya, I had this treatment in May, I had to sleep in a separate bed from my husband for a month, have seperate dishes, towels, cutlery etc for two weeks. You have to remember you are radioactive because of the radioactive iodine you have been given. This can cause cancer to anyone or anything if you have any LONG TERM contact with them. I had to stay away from my grandchildren for a month too, which was hard, but rather that than years later they contract cancer due to you. Hang on in there, it passes

  • This sounds strange to me. I had RAI and they measured me the day I left hospital, and said I was fine to go home and be with my family, and I asked about my cat, and they said it was fine. I had 4 days in hospital in the lead room.

  • Did you have it for cancer? As that is a much higher dose hence the need for isolation. RAI for normal hyper treatment is an outpatient treatment and a much lower dose is used.

  • Last month It was suggested that I have RAI treatment but refused when told that I must not be in close contact with my husband or young children for a minimum of 3 weeks. I had to keep away from the elderly or young ones (we are OAP's). My husband is disabled and as his sole Carer this is not an option but personally the thought of having radioactive iodine inside is a No No as far as I am concerned.

    If I had been much younger, with a husband and family able to support me then I might think differently.

  • It wasn't for cancer, thank god, my heart goes out to anyone fighting that...I lost a friend this year to bowel cancer and it's just the most awful disease. Mine was for hyperthyroidism, so I got the standard dose. The nurse who gave me my pill explained that it's the first 4 days that are the most important, when the the excess radiation that hasn't been absorbed by my thyroid is leaving my body through sweat and other bodily secretions. The nurse said that after the four days has passed my partner and I can even hug so long as it isn't for more than 5-10 minutes. She said we can even have sex....although time constraints apply their too and we still can't sleep in the same bed. It's soooo confusing. I don't want to get anyone sick but it's confusing as I was told I can go out if I want after the 4 days, just to avoid socialising for any length of time like in a pub,restaurant or cinema. I know to stay away from kids and young people until the end of December but it's just all really confusing.

  • I wondered if Orangelady1 was treated for thyroid cancer as she was isolated for 4 days, which we know is not normal for hyper treatment.

    Hospitals give out different advice, I wasn't given many instructions after my RAI, only to avoid close contact with anyone pregnant and young children, my youngest was about 3 at the time but i was still able to do the school run with her and the other 2 in the car, I just avoided very close contact for a week but I still went shopping and did all the usual things.

    If I was you I would just follow the instructions you were given and try not to worry about it, I had mine 13 years ago and nothing drastic has happened.

  • Thanks, I'm not allowed back at work til the 19th but that's cause I work in an open plan office and there could be pregnant people around. That's helpful to know hyophen :)

  • Just a little curious about the RAI treatment because I was offered it a few weeks ago but I turned it down; I was frightened that being hypothyroid sounded worse than being hyperthyroid so thought I would be safer to stay on carbimazole for as long as possible. My question though is if the RAI has such a bad effect on the people around us, what is it doing to the person who has had the treatment? It sounds really scary to me!

  • It's a choice everyone has to make for themselves. I can't take carbimazole because it makes me physically sick so had to take propylthiouracil which made me feel awful. As far as I know RAI isn't actually that dangerous, , staying away from people is just a precaution, once the excess radiation has left your body (3 to 4 days) it's just a precaution in case they find any issues in the future. Hyperthyroidism is more dangerous for your body than hypo as you're not having palpitations & sweats. Hypo is also easier to control with medication. The way RAI works is that your body absorbs as much of the radioactive iodine as it can and that gets to work on your faulty thyroid. There are no side effects of RAI, other than possibly a sore throat & feeling a bit lethargic for about a week. They have been using it for decades and nothing scary found so far. But you have to make up your own mind, surgery was too scary for me so I felt RAI was my only option. Good luck

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