Potassium Iodide (KI) Treatment for Animals Following a Nuclear Disaster
FACT SHEET for OWNERS
What is the most important thing I can do to protect my animals in a Nuclear Disaster?
- Plan ahead. Know where you can keep your animals if you need to leave your home (make plans with friends, relatives, or shelters for housing). This will be helpful for a nuclear accident or any natural disaster.
- Use your trips for regular veterinary check-ups to practice evacuation plans from your home.
- Purchase pet carriers or trailers to be used during an evacuation.
- Have your pet micro-chipped for easy identification in the event you are separated from your pet.
What is KI treatment and what does it do?
- Potassium iodide (KI) is a salt of iodine. It is one of several ingredients that can be added to tale salt to make it iodized.
- KI has also been approved by the FDA as a nonprescription drug for use as a “blocking agent” to prevent the human thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine.
- KI is a medication that can be given to humans and animals.
- KI may not provide people or animals with 100% protection against all radioactive iodine.
- The effectiveness of KI as a thyroid blocking agent is greatest if administered before the time of exposure to radioactive iodine, but some exposure saving can be obtained by administration shortly after exposure.
Should I give KI to my pets?
This should be determined with your veterinarian with the following things in mind:
- KI lessens the damage to the thyroid from radioactive iodine only. KI does not protect against other harmful radioactive rays released during a nuclear disaster.
- KI can harm your pet if not dosed correctly, as can all medications. Consult your veterinarian regarding dosage recommendations.
- Radiation is most harmful to young, actively growing animals.
- KI must be given before or within 4 hours of exposure to be effective.
- Veterinarians and pharmacies typically don’t stock this over-the-counter medication but may start if there is demand in your area. Also, veterinarians and pharmacies may special order this medication by request.
- Do not give KI to your pet if it is sensitive to iodine.
Where can I get further information?