DOI: 10.3390/ani13162668 ISSN:

Retrospective Evaluation of Gastrointestinal Signs in Hypothyroid Dogs

Eleonora Gori, Paola Gianella, Ilaria Lippi, Veronica Marchetti
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Few observations about gastrointestinal (GI) signs in hypothyroid dogs (hypo-T dogs) are available. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of concurrent GI signs in hypo-T dogs, describe clinicopathological, hepato-intestinal ultrasound findings in hypo-T dogs, investigate changes in GI signs after thyroid replacement therapy (THRT). Medical records of suspected hypo-T dogs from two hospitals were retrospectively reviewed. The inclusion criteria were: (1) having symptoms and clinicopathological abnormalities related to hypothyroidism (i.e., mild anemia, hyperlipemia); (2) not being affected by systemic acute disease; (3) not having received any treatment affecting thyroid axis. Hypothyroidism had to be confirmed using low fT4 or TT4 with high TSH and/or inadequate TSH-stimulation test response; otherwise, dogs were assigned to a euthyroid group. Clinical history, GI signs, hematobiochemical parameters, and abdominal ultrasound findings were recorded. Hypo-T dogs were assigned to the GI group (at least 2 GI signs) and not-GI group (1 or no GI signs). Follow-up information 3–5 weeks after THRT was recorded. In total, 110 medical records were screened: 31 dogs were hypo-T, and 79 were euthyroid. Hypo-T dogs showed a higher prevalence of GI signs (44%), especially constipation and diarrhea (p = 0.03 and p = 0.001), than euthyroid dogs (24%) (p = 0.04). Among hypo-T dogs, no difference in hematological parameters between GI and non-GI groups was found. Hypo-T dogs had a higher prevalence of gallbladder alterations than euthyroid dogs (20/25; 80% and 32/61; 52% p = 0.04). The hypo-T GI group showed a significant improvement in the GI signs after THRT (p < 0.0001). Specific investigation for concurrent GI diseases in hypo-T dogs was lacking; however, improvement in GI signs following THRT supports this association between GI signs and hypothyroidism.

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