Canine hypothyroidism has a variable onset, but tends to clinically manifest itself at 2 to 5 years of age. Dogs may be clinically normal for years, only to become hypothyroid at a later date. Canine breeds at higher risk include Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, Cocker Spaniel and Airedale Terrier.
Hypothyroidism affects more mid to large sized dogs and is rare in toy and miniature breeds of dogs. In addition, spayed females are at higher risk in comparison to neutered males.
Signs and Symptoms for Canine Hypothyroidism Includes:
- Lethargy and mental dullness
- Hair loss and excessive shedding
- Weight gain and obesity
- Dry hair coat
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin
- Cold intolerance
- Slow heart rate
- High blood pressureAnemia
Canine hypothyroidism is caused by the dysfunction of the pathway from the hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid glands. 95% of all cases are a result of the destruction of the thyroid gland that occurs over time. If diagnosed, the most effective treatment for canine hypothyroidism is medicating with a synthetic thyroid hormone called Soloxine.
The most common form of canine hypothyroidism is autoimmune thyroiditis. The orthopedic foundation for animals has developed the genetic markers for autoimmune thyroiditis and thyroglobulin autoantibody formation.
Development of autoantibodies at any time in the dog’s life is an indication that the dog, most likely, has the genetic form of the disease.
As a result of the variable onset of the presence of autoantibodies, periodic testing is necessary. Dogs that are negative at 1 year of age may become positive at 6 years of age. Dogs should be tested every year or two in order to verify they have not developed this condition. Since the majority of affected dogs will have autoantibodies by 4 years of age, annual testing for the first 4 years is recommended. After that, testing every other year should be sufficient. Unfortunately, a negative test result at any one time will not guarantee that the dog will not develop thyroiditis.
Labs can be drawn to test for hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis and thyroglobulin autoantibody. Advanced Animal Imaging is working with The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and OFA approved labs to develop new technology and screening parameters for canine hypothyroidism.
The OFA required testing includes the following:
- Labs to evaluate T3, T4, Free T4, TSH, Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies (TgAA).
- No thyroid supplementation for 3 months prior to testing.
Advanced Animal Imaging additional requirements include:
- Low Iodine Diet for 7 days.
- No food or drink 4 hours before the appointment.
Advanced Animal Imaging is a leader in animal thyroid diagnostics and imaging. Our goal is to provide more advanced technology to resolve equivocal and false positive test results.