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Published in Blueprints Fall 1998


Thyroiditis The Subtle Disease
Thyroiditis is a genetic autoimmune disease which is the cause of over one-half of the cases of hypothyroidism diagnosed in dogs.

While just one individual symptom may not alert the breeder to a significant genetic problem, a combination of the symptoms should signal the need to test for autoimmune thyroiditis.

The most common clinical symptoms of canine autoimmune thyroiditis are listed below:
skin disease
cold intolerance
hair loss
poor coat

The incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis in males and females is similar. Therefore it is equally important to test both prior to breeding.

Thyroiditis Can Be Asymptomatic
Because autoimmune thyroiditis does not always present clinically, animals should be tested for the presence of autoantibody to canine thyroglobulin (TgAA) prior to breeding. Although hypothyroidism resulting from thyroiditis usually manifests itself between the ages of three and five years, the TgAA test can detect problems in dogs as young as one year. Hence, the TgAA test can be a valuable addition to breeding programs since early detection can help you avoid investing in genetically inferior animals.

Hypothyroidism is not considered to be a lifethreatening disease. However, the quality of life of an animal suffering from hypothyroidism is substandard.

Dogs with autoimmune thyroiditis produce antibodies against the storage form of thyroid hormone. These antibodies are present in the dog’s bloodstream, so a simple blood test is all that is needed for accurate diagnosis.

The best available technology for early detection of autoimmune thyroiditis in dogs is a sensitive assay for THYROGLOBULIN AUTOANTIBODY (TgAA). A commercial kit for TgAA analysis is now manufactured by Oxford Laboratories, and is now available to veterinary laboratories worldwide. The TgAA assay has been recommended by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for its canine thyroid registry. In the United States and Canada, your veterinarian can have your dog’s blood tested by an approved veterinary laboratory. This OFA registry records and stores data concerning the incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis. The importance of this is that it (1) enables more complete genetic counseling and (2) ‘provides data for research purposes.

For further information on the Canine Thyroid Registry, contact the OFA:
Telephone: 1-573-442-0418

* THYROIDITIS -a major cause of canine thyroid disease
* THYROIDITIS -a familial (genetic) disease in dogs
* THYROIDITIS -can be detected by an available blood test
* THYROIDITIS -early detection is possible in many affected breeds.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc.
A Not-For-Profit Organization
2300 Nifong Blvd.
Columbia MO 65201-3856

Canine ThyroglobulinAutoantibody (TgAA) test kits (product VT-10) are available from:
Oxford Laboratories, Inc.
P.O. Box 558
Oxford MI 48371
Phone: 1-248-628-5104
FAX: 1-248-852-4466


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