Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Case of The Month: Norman Bauer Pt. 1

Norman, a 5-year-old bulldog, was having episodes of fever, restlessness, and panting. His veterinarian performed blood tests which revealed very high thyroid hormone levels. Although his symptoms could fit a picture of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), this is highly unusual in a dog and on the rare occasion it is seen, it is usually due to thyroid cancer.

Norman came to VRA to sort out his thyroid problems. We performed a thyroid scintigraphy (a.k.a. thyroid scan). Thyroid scintigraphy is a very simple test to closely and non-invasively evaluate the thyroid for cancer and other problems. Fortunately, his thyroid did not show any evidence of thyroid cancer, in fact his thyroid was completely invisible on the scan!! Where did it go if his thyroid hormone levels were showing as abnormally high?

A bit of detective work leads us to suspect that Norman probably has “dietary hyperthyroidism” from eating a raw meat diet and his normal thyroid tissue is suppressed (i.e. on vacation) because there are extra thyroid hormones in his body coming from his diet. Thyroid tissue can be contained in some raw meat diets and has been documented as a cause of hyperthyroidism in dogs recently.1

Stay tuned. We are changing Norman to a commercial maintenance dog food and plan to recheck his thyroid hormone levels and possibly his thyroid scan, in a few weeks, to confirm the cause of his problem.

1.Kohler B, Stengel C, and Neiger R.Dietary hyperthyroidism in dogs Journal of Small Animal Practice (2012) 53, 182–184.


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