THE LATEST NEWS ON NUCLEAR SCANS
At the 2011 annual meeting of the American College of Veterinary Radiology Dr. David Herring of Radiocat was invited to be part of a panel discussion in the nuclear medicine session that focused on the use of nuclear scans in the diagnosis and treatment of feline hyperthyroidism. The panel was comprised of Drs. Herring, Peter Scrivani (Cornell University), Seth Wallack (private referral practice in San Diego CA), and Greg Daniel (Virginia Tech). The audience was comprised of over 200 ACVR diplomats and residents. Each participant was given 15 minutes to make a presentation followed by a question and answer period.
Dr. Daniel presented images and data based on a caseload of 60 cases per year, followed by Dr. Wallack based on 95 cases per year and then Dr. Scrivani based on a similarly low number of cases per year. They each made excellent presentations even though they were based on very low caseloads. Dr. Herring began his presentation by apologizing for not being able to present images of nuclear scans performed by Radiocat. He expressed his respect for his colleagues on the panel but he then stated the facts.
For over 16 years, Radiocat has treated over 50,000 cases of feline hyperthyroidism with a success rate around 98 % (comparable to or better than those performing pretreatment nuclear scans) and HAS NOT PERFORMED A SINGLE NUCLEAR SCAN! None of the information presented at this meeting or in the literature shows any advantage in diagnosing or managing feline hyperthyroidism based on the results of a nuclear scan.
Following Dr. Herring’s presentation the Q and A was initiated by Dr. Chuck Farrow. He opened with a statement thanking Dr. Herring for his presentation and then addressed his question to the remaining three members of the panel. His question was simple, “Based on what we have just heard from Dr. Herring, how can you rationalize the use of nuclear scans prior to I-131 treatment?” Dr. Daniel, the author of the “bible” of veterinary nuclear medicine responded that his role in academia is research and for that reason he performs pretreatment scans. He went on to say that if he were in a strictly clinical setting he would NOT perform pretreatment scans. Dr. Scrivani agreed with that position as well. Not a single person in the audience disagreed with those comments and there were several present who perform nuclear scans on a routine basis.
At Radiocat we have always believed that pretreatment nuclear scans did not add to the diagnosis or success rate in treating feline hyperthyroidism. Dr. Dan Hightower, the father of veterinary nuclear medicine, trained Dr. Herring in nuclear medicine so his opinion was not based on the inability to perform nuclear scans. It was based on experience and literature review.
But, don’t believe us, listen to the researchers and experts in the field: Nuclear scans have a place in research, not in the everyday diagnosis and treatment of this fatal disease.
Soon you will hear about a new dietary management product for feline hyperthyroidism. The key word is management. Much like Tapazole inhibits production of thyroid hormones, low iodine cat food has the same net effect. The important fact to keep in mind is that the tumor keeps growing during the management process. The only way to eliminate the tumor(s) is with radioiodine (I 131). In the past 16 years, Radiocat has treated over 50,000 cases of feline hyperthyroidism with an amazing success rate! The only way to cure this fatal disease and keep your patient alive and in good health is and always will be radioiodine therapy or I-131.
Many years ago, there was an article written that warned of the development of fatal renal failure following treatment of hyperthyroidism. That study was based on a very small number of test cases and bilateral thyroidectomy was the main culprit. That study, again, based on a small number of cases proved to be an exaggeration. The current study touting dietary management as a treatment option is also based on a very small number of test cases. Long term ramifications have yet to be determined.
Please keep all of these facts in mind when choosing a treatment option for hyperthyroidism. Remember, THE ONLY TRUE CURE IS RADIOIODINE!
Radiocat has been there for you and your clients for 16 years and we hope to continue treating and curing this horrible disease for many years to come!
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at 1-800-323-9729! We will be happy to discuss your clients’ treatment plan.
Drs. David Herring and Rand Wachsstock