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Gladesville Veterinary Hospital, 449 Victoria Road, Gladesville, New South Wales 2111

Objective To assess the efficacy of radioactive iodine treatment (131I) for canine thyroid carcinoma, as both the sole therapeutic modality and as an adjunct to surgery.

Design Retrospective analysis of case records from the Gladesville Veterinary Hospital Nuclear Medicine Service, Sydney, between August 1988 and December 2001.

Case Details The records of 65 dogs with thyroid carcinoma were analysed according to therapy and outcome. Forty-three dogs received radioiodide therapy, either as the sole therapeutic modality (32) or as an adjunct to surgery (11). Radioisotope therapy consisted of one to three doses of 131I with a dose range of 555 to 1850 MBq. For analysis, dogs were divided into groups according to therapy: no treatment, surgery alone, surgery with radioiodide therapy or radioiodide therapy alone. Mode of therapy, dosage of 131I, clinical staging and age were all independently analysed according to survival to compare efficacy or predictive value respectively.

Results When radioiodide therapy was used as an adjunct to surgery, median survival was 34 months. Censored median survival time for dogs that received radioiodide alone was 30 months. Dogs that did not receive treatment had a median survival of only 3 months. Log rank statistical analysis indicated that mode of therapy was significantly correlated with survival but that clinical stage of disease was not.

Conclusion The authors conclude that 131I therapy is effective at extending survival time, both as a sole therapeutic modality and as an adjunct to surgery, in dogs with invasive canine thyroid carcinoma. Incomplete surgical resection may not prolong survival in dogs also receiving 131I therapy, however surgical resection with curative intent should be recommended as the first line of therapy for mobile thyroid carcinomas. Radioisotope therapy can be recommended for cases where surgery alone is considered unlikely to be curative because of metastatic disease or local invasion, or for cases where surgery has been attempted but complete surgical removal has not been achieved.