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Keywords:

  • dog;
  • hypothyroidism;
  • thyroid;
  • ultrasound

Primary hypothyroidism is a frequent endocrine disorder in the adult dog. However, false-positive diagnoses are common because of the relatively low accuracy of most commonly used biochemical tests. The purpose of this study was to describe the ultrasonographic features of the thyroid gland in hypothyroid dogs, to calculate the diagnostic sensitivity of gray-scale ultrasound using a combination of clinical symptoms and biochemical thyroid tests as gold standard, and to investigate the evolution of the ultrasonographic features after treatment of hypothyroidism. Eighteen dogs were studied prospectively. All dogs underwent an ultrasound examination at first presentation and 13 underwent one or two additional ultrasound examinations over time. At first presentation, a sensitivity of 76.5% (95% CI [50.0–93.0%]) for decreased echogenicity, 64.7% (95% CI [38.3–85.8%]) for inhomogeneity, 70.6% (95% CI [44.0–89.7%]) for irregular capsule delineation, 64.7% (95% CI [38.3–85.8%]) for abnormal lobe shape and 47.1% (95% CI [23.0–72.2%]) for decreased relative thyroid volume was obtained. Combining these five parameters together resulted in an overall sensitivity of 94.1% (95% CI [71.3–99.9%]) for gray-scale ultrasound in the detection of acquired hypothyroidism at first presentation. A continuous decrease of thyroid volume was seen over time after treatment, while the other investigated parameters did not change significantly during the follow-up period. None of the thyroid glands were considered normal at the last presentation. Grayscale ultrasound is a sensitive and quick test for the diagnosis of primary hypothyroidism in dogs.