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Hypothyroidism in Dogs and Cats

By W. Jean Dodds, DVM
For Veterinary Practice News

Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of dogs. More than 80 percent of cases result from autoimmune thyroiditis, the heritable autoimmune disease that progressively destroys the thyroid gland.

Classical clinical signs of hypothyroidism only appear once more than 70 percent of the gland is destroyed. Accurate diagnosis may be difficult because thyroid dysfunction produces a wide range of clinical signs, many of which are subtle and mimic those of other causes.

Hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder of older cats. Diagnosis can be confounded by concurrent kidney, gastrointestinal and liver disease, as total T4 concentration can be suppressed into the normal reference range.

To facilitate diagnosis of thyroid disorders, veterinarians need to routinely employ more complete thyroid profiles, and there is a need to balance affordability with accuracy.

Dr. Dodds is founder of  Hemopet, a full-service laboratory and non-profit veterinary blood bank in Garden Grove, Calif. Hemopet conducts advanced canine diagnostic thyroid testing for clients around the world. Dr. Dodds is a 1964 graduate of Ontario Veterinary College.

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