Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disease in dogs. A diagnosis of hypothyroidism relies on finding both appropriate clinical signs and low thyroid hormone levels. Unfortunately, other illnesses can suppress thyroid hormone levels and result in a misdiagnosis. This phenomenon of low thyroid hormone levels caused by a disease not involving the thyroid gland is known as nonthyroidal illness or euthyroid sick syndrome. It is important to distinguish between nonthyroidal illness and hypothyroidism as the treatment for each is different. Historically, the recommendation for a dog with nonthyroidal illness has been to resolve the underlying disease, followed by a recheck of thyroid hormone levels thereafter. However, the duration of time after resolution of the nonthyroidal illness necessary to perform accurate thyroid hormone level testing is unknown. This study will provide information about thyroid hormone levels during the course of nonthyroidal illness, and also establish the approximate duration of time for recovery of thyroid hormone levels to normal following illness resolution. These results will correlate clinically with more concrete recommendations for thyroid hormone level testing following resolution of nonthyroidal illness.
Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 02686-A
Timothy Bolton, ; Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine