Getting Glandular with Lacey
October 18, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with slightly low thyroid levels in their dog?

I took my 13yo shepherd-lab to a new vet for a skin condition. They wanted, also to do a general blood panel, and I agreed. This panel came back with a "slightly" low thyroid.

They want to do a more thorough thyroid panel, for around $100 over and above the $200 I already paid for the initial test. The lab would use the same blood sample.

I took it under advisement. So, can I try treating this with a very low dose of Soloxine and monitor her energy level, skin, and general well-being, or does it come down to doing either that extra test or doing nothing?
posted by Danf to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
I would do the extra test. I wouldn't experimentally medicate, even more so with a pet because they can't describe to you what's going on, and I'd want to know the extra information - especially if later on down the road you want to monitor a change in condition, you'd have this as a baseline.
posted by mrs. taters at 9:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

We've had several dogs with low thyroid and all have had a much much better quality of life once we started treating them with medication. The thyroid itself is pretty cheap (only a couple bucks a month), but I don't remember what the initial testing cost. I imagine that telling your vet you want to help your dog, but you're not sure you can swing the $100 for a new blood test would lead to the vet helping you think through options.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:32 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

based on several lab owned by family members they seem to be particularly prone to thyroid disorder.
posted by supermedusa at 9:34 AM on October 18, 2010

This is an older dog, especially for its breed. Even if--and IANAV--this would be a reasonable risk in younger animals, which I don't know, older animals need closer monitoring because they can be more sensitive to pharmaceuticals.

I would do the test. If you are having trouble affording it, please do what stoneweaver suggests and explain this to your veterinarian to see what s/he recommends.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 9:51 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

TSH is not definitive. The further blood test will tell you if the dog actually needs thyroid medication, and if so, how much. They do the TSH to see *if* they need to do the further thyroid blood tests. If your dog does not actually need Soloxine or if you give too much, you can cause cardiac problems (among others).

If you do start Soloxine, the vet should also suggest that you come back for another set of thyroid tests in something like 6-8 weeks, to make sure that the dosage is working right for your dog.

That said, I recall the free T4 (and whatever) additional thyroid tests as being about $40.
posted by galadriel at 10:47 AM on October 18, 2010

Even if you do put her on Soloxine, you will still need to have monitoring panels done regularly, but the more detailed test will give your vet a better idea of what is going on and what to do about it. Low thyroid has a number of adverse effects, including slowed healing times (not good in an elderly doggie!) and behavioral issues, it is worth it for your dog's wellbeing to get the extra test done.
posted by biscotti at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

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