Endocrinology / Thyroid Function Tests

Dogs’ and cats’ bodies have 10 systems: skeletal, muscle, digestive, circulatory, excretory, integumentary (skin), respiratory, nervous, endocrine (ductless glands), and reproductive. All must be working properly for the pet to stay in good health.

Endocrine glands secrete hormones that help manage the body’s processes. The thyroid gland lies on your pet’s trachea, just below the larynx. The hormones produced by the thyroid govern the body’s basic metabolism, including control of growth and development and maintenance of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism, throughout their life. Failure of the thyroid gland means trouble of one sort or another for your pet’s wellness.

Veterinarians may suggest a thyroid test if a pet has gained weight or is having chronic skin infections or if a breeding pet is experiencing reproductive difficulties.
Blood tests for thyroid levels are done to evaluate thyroid function.

• In dogs, hypothyroidism is a common disease and is evidenced by low thyroid T4 levels.
• In cats, hyperthyroidism is more common and elevated thyroid T4 levels are seen.

If abnormal thyroid T4 levels are detected, many veterinarians recommend further testing with more specialized thyroid tests, such as the free T4, and/or the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test.

Note: For Explanations of Abbreviations, Tests, Profiles, and Panels, see: Chemistry Profiles/Panels, Abbreviations & Definitions

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