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Excellent articles -- please download and print-out -- to become better educated and make Informed Decisions on behalf of our companion animals!

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  Thyroid Disease and Autoimmune Thyroditis

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM  [2006 -- 10 pages -- pdf document]

                     [excerpt- click on the link above to read entire article]

"Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of canines, and up to 80% of cases result from autoimmune (lymphocytic) thyroiditis ...Canine autoimuune thyroid disease is very similar to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis of humans ..."


"...Individuals genetically susceptible to autoimmune thyroid disease may also become more susceptible to immune-mediated diseases affecting other target tissues and organs, especially the bone marrow, liver, adrenal gland, pancreas, skin, kidney, joints, bowel, and central nervous system. The resulting “polyglandular autoimmune syndrome” of humans is becoming more commonly recognized in the dog, and probably occurs in other species as well. The syndrome tends to run in families and is believed to have an inherited basis ."


"..Our ongoing study now includes over 1500 cases of dogs presented to veterinary clinics for aberrant behavior. ...  Results showed a significant relationship between thyroid dysfunction and seizure disorder, and thyroid dysfunction and dog-to-human aggression. Collectively, these findings confirm the importance of including a complete thyroid antibody profile as part of the laboratory and clinical work up of any behavioral case."


  The Immune System

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM   [13 pages -- pdf document]

                    [excerpt- click on the link above to read entire article]

"...Viral disease and recent vaccination with single or combination modified live-virus (MLV) vaccines, especially those containing distemper virus, adenovirus 1 or 2, and parvovirus are increasingly recognized contributors to immune-mediated blood disease, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction.  ... Potent adjuvanted  killed  vaccines like those for rabies virus also can trigger immediate and delayed (vaccinosis) adverse vaccine reactions...."


"... Wholesome nutrition is the key to maintaining a healthy immune system and resistance to disease. ... The requirement for essential nutrients increases during periods of rapid growth or reproduction and also may increase in geriatric individuals, because immune function and the bioavailability of these nutrients generally wanes with aging. 


"... Nutritional influences can have a profound effect on thyroid metabolism....  The classical example is the iodine deficiency that occurs in individuals eating cereal grain crops grown on iodine-deficient soil.  This will impair thyroid metabolism because iodine is essential for formation of thyroid hormones. Iron and zinc also are important minerals in regulating thyroid metabolism. ..  The selenium-thyroid connection has significant clinical relevance, because blood, but not tissue, levels of thyroid hormones rise in selenium deficiency.  ...Thus, selenium-deficient individuals showing clinical signs of hypothyroidism could be overlooked on the basis that blood levels of thyroid hormones appear normal.  The selenium issue is further complicated because the synthetic antioxidants [i.e. BHA , BHT] still used in some foods to protect fats from rancidity can impair the bioavailability of vitamin A, vitamin E and selenium, and alter cellular membrane function, metabolism and detoxification.


Because animals with autoimmune thyroid disease have generalized metabolic imbalance and often have associated immunological dysfunction, it is advisable to minimize their exposures to unnecessary drugs, chemicals and toxins, and to optimize their nutritional status with healthy balanced diets."


"... Many veterinarians treating animals suffering from immunologic diseases appreciate that alternative nutritional management is an important step in minimizing their patient's environmental challenges.  The results of this approach have been remarkable.  The replacement food must be of good quality and preferably of relatively low protein content (20-22%).  

     Increasing carbohydrate and reducing protein content, while maintaining high quality protein, has been shown to be beneficial for many affected animals and is also believed to have a positive effect on behavior.  Diet and behavior appear to be linked because certain highly nutritious foods may contribute to deterioration in the condition of dogs with behavioral problems (dominant aggression, hyperactivity, and fear). ..."

"Perhaps as important as the nutritional and other supplemental support for patients is the need to avoid or minimize toxic exposures (e.g. pesticides on pets or their surroundings, chemical fertilizers, radiation, high tension powerlines), booster vaccinations, preventative chemicals for heartworm, fleas and ticks, and drugs known to exacerbate immunologic disorders (e.g. potentiated sulfonamides, sex hormones).  Alternative strategies to protect against common infectious diseases, such as annual vaccine titers, homeopathic nosodes, natural methods of heartworm, flea and tick control, should be implemented. ..."

 Adverse Vaccination Reactions

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM    [pdf document]

             [excerpt- click on the link above to read entire article]

 "... Vaccination of pet and research dogs with polyvalent vaccines containing rabies virus or rabies vaccine alone was recently shown to induce production of antithyroglobulin autoantibodies, a provocative and important finding with implications for the subsequent development of hypothyroidism. ..."


  The Thyroid Dilemma

Antech News, October 2005 -- Excellent information.


  Assessing Thyroid Function

Antech News, November 2005 -- Detailed Explanation


  Influence of age, breed type, and athletic conditioning on thyroid function testing

Antech News, September 2005


 Behavioral Changes Associated with Thyroid Dysfunction in Dogs

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Linda P. Aronson, DVM


  Behavioral Issues with Thyroiditis

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM


  Nutritional Management of Thyroid & Immune Disorders

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM


  Thyroid Can Alter Behavior

Bizarre Behavioral Changes? Check your dog for hypothyroidism.

by W. Jean Dodds, DVM


  OFA Thyroid Testing Form

      [pdf document]


  Efficacy and Safety of Transdermal Methimazole in

Treating of Cats with Hyperthyroidism

Antech News May 2005

"  ...  Although the overall efficacy of transdermal methimazole is not as high as that of oral methimazole at 2 weeks of treatment, it is associated with fewer GI adverse effects compared to the oral route.
Reference: Sartor et al, JVIM 18: 651-655, 2004."


  "Radiocat Network Gives 21,000 Cats Suffering From Feline Hyperthyroidism a 10th Life"

 Monday, 23 May 2005 

["Treating hyperthyroid cats by either surgery or I 131 IS costly but works very well." -- Dr. Jean Dodds]

SPRINGFIELD, VA, (NAMC) - "The Radiocat® network of veterinarians, specializing in the treatment of feline hyperthyroidism with Radioiodine (I-131), has saved the lives of 21,000 cats since the group’s founding in 1995.


The 21,000th cat, an 11-year old brown Tabby from Alexandria, Virginia named, Specka, was treated in March by Dr. Rand Wachsstock, a founding partner of Radiocat, at The Regional Veterinary Center in Springfield, Virginia.


Feline hyperthyroidism, generally affecting older cats, is fatal if left untreated. However, one injection of Radioiodine cures 98 percent of the cats treated with little to no side effects. This method of treating feline hyperthyroidism is safe and affordable. It eliminates expensive surgery and never ending drug treatment. Use of I-131 is the gold standard for curing feline hyperthyroidism, and we are proud to have treated more cats than anyone else currently practicing this discipline,” he said


Dr. Wachsstock says cats undergoing I-131 therapy need to remain in a special recovery ward for less than a week after the injection to allow the radiation contained in the treatment to reach safe and legal levels. He explains, however, that during its stay, a cat is “monitored and made as comfortable as possible, even including listening to tapes of its owner’s voice and watching ‘kitty’ videos.”


I-131 treatment does not require anesthesia and does not affect healthy thyroid tissue. Under the treatment, normal thyroid function often returns within one month, according to Dr. Wachsstock, but he says alternative treatments can be expensive and not as effective as I-131.


“Usually, it takes two surgeries—at a cost of between $700 and $1300—for most cases of feline hyperthyroidism. The disease affects both of a cat’s thyroid glands in 80 percent of the cases, therefore, removing only one side leads to recurrence of the disease in as little as 18 months. In addition, the surgery is dangerous and could lead to fatal calcium deficiency. Anti-thyroid drugs counteract the excess thyroid hormone and can cost between $500 and $700 per year for the remainder of a cat’s life. The medicines seem to lose effectiveness in three to four years and can damage the liver and kidneys—not to mention the owner-pet relationship due to the difficulties of administering one to three pills a day. With those facts in mind, I-131 treatment makes sense, it works, and both pet and owner get everything over with one procedure,” Dr. Wachsstock advised.


The cost of treatment with I-131 averages about $1200, Dr. Wachsstock says.


Dr. David S. Herring of Baltimore, Maryland, co- founder of the Radiocat network, explains that one in 300 cats suffer from hyperthyroidism. He says there are approximately 65 million cats in the U.S.


“We don’t know what causes the disease, so we don’t really have a way to prevent it, but we do have a cure—using I-131. Pet owners should ask their veterinarians about this treatment if their cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism,” Dr. Herring said.


About Radiocat:  Dr. David S. Herring and Dr. Rand S. Wachsstock and are co-founders of Radiocat, a veterinary practice dedicated exclusively to the care and treatment of feline hyperthyroidism with practice locations in Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; San Mateo, CA; Middletown, CT; Wilmington, DE; Atlanta, GA; Wheeling, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Baltimore, MD; Greenville, SC; Waltham. MA; White Plains, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; and Springfield, VA.


Contact: Lana Sansur 301-765-9816


Also See:


Blood Tests Explained


Vaccination Information




ã Copyright 1995 Helen L. McKinnon All Rights Reserved

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