Address correspondance and reprint requests to Olivier Taeymans, DVM, PhD, DiplECVDI, at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westborough Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA. E-mail:


The magnetic resonance (MR) imaging features of the normal canine thyroid gland were retrospectively compiled from images acquired in 44 dogs presented for a variety of diseases unrelated to the thyroid gland. The appearance of the thyroid gland on different sequences, including pre- and postcontrast T1-weighted, T2-weighted, two-dimensional gradient echo, three-dimensional T2*-weighted gradient echo and proton density weighted images, were described in different image planes. The characteristic shape, location, and intensity of thyroid lobes compared with surrounding structures made them easily detectable in all dogs. The most common location of the thyroid lobes was dorsolateral to the trachea with the maximal cross-sectional area of the lobes located ventral to C2/3 or C3 in more than 85% of the dogs. The majority of the lobes were ovoid on transverse images. An isthmus was seen in one large dog and parathyroid glands could not be seen. The mean maximal thyroid lobe diameter on transverse images was 8.1 mm, being twice the mean diameter of the common carotid artery. Considering the excellent conspicuity and characteristic appearance of the canine thyroid gland, MR imaging can be beneficial in the diagnosis of diffuse thyroid diseases, in differentiating thyroid vs. nonthyroid neck masses and in staging and treatment planning of thyroid tumors in this species.