Answer to Question #7631 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q

I am scheduled for radioactive iodine treatment for my hyperthyroid. I understand the need to take precautions to limit the exposure to others. However, I have not been able to find any information regarding exposure to pets. I have two small dogs (13 kg and 26 kg) that are used to being close to me. Should they be removed from my home for a few days?

A

I recommend that you follow the same advice that I gave to another person (ATE Q7392) regarding her cats.

I don't think that the dogs have to leave the house, unless they are so adorable that you can't help wanting to hold them for long periods of time. Your thyroid is an exposure source and so is your urine. I do not think that the radiation exposure would be a health hazard if they are sitting next to you on the couch.

Cats and dogs both clean their coats by licking, so washing your hands before petting your dogs is the best way to protect them. Good luck with your therapy.

Marcia Hartman, MS

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 8 July 2008. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.