Effects of thyroid hormone and thyroid dysfunction on the cardiovascular system

Kienle RD, Bruyette D, Pion PD.

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1994;24:495-507.

Thyroid disease is common in veterinary practice. The heart, especially the myocardium, is sensitive to thyroid hormone, and deficiencies or excesses can alter cardiovascular function. Observed changes result from direct effects upon the myocardium and indirect effects that result from effects upon the vasculature and peripheral tissues. Clinically significant cardiovascular abnormalities related to hypothyroidism are rare. If present, they are primarily manifest as reduced left ventricular pump function, as apparent echocardiographically, or arrhythmias. Hyperthyroidism is common in the cat and infrequently encountered in dogs. Clinically significant cardiovascular manifestations are common and often dramatic. Hyperdynamic systolic function and mild myocardial hypertrophy are common manifestations which may lead to overt congestive and high output heart failure. If signs of congestive heart failure or significant arrhythmias are not evident, specific therapy need only be directed toward restoration of the euthyroid state. In most cases the cardiovascular changes associated with thyroid dysfunction are completely reversible.