Ultrasonographic evaluation of the thyroid gland in healthy, hypothyroid, and euthyroid Golden Retrievers with nonthyroidal illness

Bromel C, Pollard RE, Kass PH, et al.

J Vet Intern Med 2005;19:499-506.

Ultrasound evaluation of the thyroid gland was performed in healthy, hypothyroid, and euthyroid Golden Retriever dogs with nonthyroidal illness (NTI) to determine the diagnostic usefulness of ultrasound for differentiating between euthyroid and hypothyroid dogs. Thirty-six healthy, 11 hypothyroid, and 35 euthyroid dogs with NTI were evaluated. Each thyroid lobe was examined ultrasonographically for size, shape, echogenicity, and homogeneity. Thyroid lobe volume was estimated by using the equation for an ellipsoid: pi/6(length X height x width). No differences were found between healthy dogs and euthyroid dogs with NTI. In the majority of euthyroid dogs, the thyroid lobes were fusiform and triangular in shape in longitudinal and transverse planes, respectively. The thyroid capsule appeared smooth. The thyroid parenchyma had a homogeneous echogenic pattern and usually was hyperechoic or isoechoic compared with the surrounding musculature. Ultrasound findings in hypothyroid dogs were more variable, including a greater frequency of round to oval-shaped thyroid lobes in the transverse imaging plane (P < .05), hypoechogenicity of the thyroid parenchyma compared with surrounding musculature (P < .001), and a decrease in the size and volume of the thyroid lobes and total volume of the thyroid gland (P < .05) compared with euthyroid dogs. Other findings in hypothyroid dogs included an irregular surface to the thyroid capsule, a heterogeneous pattern to the thyroid parenchyma, and differences in the echogenic pattern between the left and right thyroid lobes. Results suggest that determination of thyroid size and volume by ultrasound may be a useful adjunctive test for differentiating between hypothyroid and euthyroid dogs with NTI.