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Thyroid Issues

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Dr. Jean Dodds/HEMOPET

The main reason for sending Dr. Jean Dodds / HEMOPET  the blood samples instead of having the testing done locally, is that HEMOPET is the only group routinely offering expert clinical interpretive diagnostic comments that take into account the age, sex, and breed type of the animal.  This often means an expected normal reference range for an individual pet that differs from the test lab's generic broad reference range. Practitioners usually are unaware of these differences, which have been established by published research and Dr. Dodds' many years (41 years this year- 2005) of clinical and research experience.

The COMPLETE Thyroid Panel is needed for an ACCURATE diagnosis and assessment of Thyroid Function.  Dr. Dodds' Thyroid Panel # D8T provides the values for: T3, T4, free T3, free T4, T3 Autoantibodies and T4 Autoantibodies.


Most labs do not do a complete thyroid panel and that is why there are only a handful that are certified to submit results to OFA for their thyroid ratings.

Misc. bits of info and their site links

Influence of age, breed type, and athletic conditioning on thyroid function testing
Previous studies have established that thyroid hormone concentrations are higher in healthy young and adolescent animals, and lower in geriatric animals. Similarly, healthy toy and small breed dogs have higher metabolic rates and higher basal thyroid concentrations than large or giant breed dogs. Sighthounds as a group have lower resting thyroid hormone concentrations, and values in healthy sighthounds often fall just below the laboratory reference ranges.



Canine Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
by W. Jean Dodds, DVM

The most common cause of canine thyroid disease is autoimmune thyroiditis (estimated 90% of cases). Thyroiditis is an immune-mediated process that develops in genetically susceptible individuals and is characterized by the presence of antithyroid antibodies in the blood or tissues. Thyroiditis is believed to start in most cases around puberty, and gradually progress through mid-life and old age to become clinically expressed hypothyroidism once thyroid glandular reserve has been depleted. During this process, the animal or person becomes more susceptible to immune-mediated or other diseases affecting various target tissues and organs. The prerequisite genetic basis for susceptibility to this disorder has been in established in humans, dogs and several other species.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM, is an internationally recognized authority on thyroid issues in dogs and blood diseases in animals.  In the mid-1980's she founded Hemopet, the first nonprofit blood bank for animals. Dr. Dodds is a grantee of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and author of over 150 research publications.  Through Hemopet she provides canine blood components and blood-bank supplies throughout North America, consults in clinical pathology, and lectures worldwide.

Behavioral Issues with Thyroiditis
By W. Jean Dodds, DVM

Current Behavioral Issues

In recent years, clinicians have noted the sudden onset of behavioral changes in dogs around the time of puberty or as young adults. Most of the animals have been purebreds or crossbreeds with an apparent predilection for certain breeds. Neutering these animals usually does not alter the symptoms and the behaviors may even intensify. Many of these dogs belong to certain breeds or dog families susceptible to a variety of immune problems and allergies (e.g. Golden Retriever, Akita, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog, and German Shepherd Dog). The clinical signs in these animals, before they show the sudden onset of behavioral aggression, can include minor problems such as inattentiveness, fearfulness, seasonal allergies, skin and coat disorders (e.g. pyoderma, allergic inhalant or ectoparasite dermatitis, alopecia, and intense itching). These may be early subtle signs of thyroid dysfunction, with no other typical signs of thyroid disease being manifested.


Includes Case Studies
Chip W. - Parsons Jack Russell terrier, 7 year-old neutered male. Mood swings, aggression towards the owners, dry flaky, greasy skin and itching. Seven days after the diagnosis of hypothyroidism the dog's behavior totally changed; he no longer attacks household members and the scratching has significantly diminished.


Sherman C. - Cocker spaniel, 6 year-old intact male. This dog becomes easily excited and agitated during thunderstorms and other periods of noise, such as fire crackers. During these episodes he vocalizes, paces constantly, and cannot be touched. Diagnosed with autoimmune thyroiditis, he is now on twice daily thyroxine and once daily melatonin. His temperament is normal and his noise phobia appears to be under control.

To read the whole article

Wish it was that easy for Arrow. But he is on thyroid but it has not helped his behavioral issues that get worse each year..  heat sensitivity proness to allergy and a host of other issues are often not magically cured by a thyroid med when they have hypothyroidism.. Then they put the dogs on prednisone and really mess their immune system up even more. If I ever get another young dog with thyroid issues I wont bother to complete the training on that dog. The breeders think thyroid is no big issue but in a working dog it is. .  


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