Hypothyroidism: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Published on: 31.07.2015


Simon Tappin MA VetMB DipECVIM-Ca CertSAM MRCVS
European & RCVS-Recognised Specialist in Small Animal Medicine (Internal Medicine)

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About The Webinar

Hypothyroidism is the most common canine endocrinopathy (population prevalence 0.2-0.8%), but can be challenging to diagnose. It is important to use a combination of clinical assessment, such as signalment, presenting signs and clinical examination findings, as well as routine and then specific endocrine tests in order to make a definitive diagnosis. Hypothyroidism is most commonly diagnosed in middle age, with breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers, being over represented. Although classic signs of hypothyroidism are seen in most dogs (mentation changes, reduced activity, weight gain and dermatological changes) there are numerous differential diagnoses and occasion unusual presentations such as the development of reproductive cycle abnormalities and neurological and cardiac abnormalities.

Hypothyroid animals will have low total thyroxine levels, however this can be affected by other disease processes, thus further supportive evidence of reduced thyroid gland function is usually sort in the form of elevated thyroid stimulating hormone or reduced free thyroxine levels. In some cases a TSH stimulation test, ultrasound or scintigraphy may be helpful to asses function. Treatment usually improves clinical signs with mentation and activity levels improving within days; dermatological signs often several months to return to normal.

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