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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been convinced that our 7 year old golden was hypothyroid but after lab results, the vet says she’s “perfect.” She presents with so many of the symptoms- weight gain despite regular exercise and reduced food intake, lethargy, dry/itchy skin, chronic ear infections, clumps of hair falling out, chewing feet etc. that I can’t help but think we’re missing something. The vet wants us to cut back her food to 1.5 cup/day from 2 cups to see if that helps but I’m afraid she’ll not be getting enough calories. I was going to send her results to Dr. Dodd’s for a second opinion. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Below are her lab results with the labs ranges:

Total T4. 1.5 (range 1.0-4.0 ug/dl)
Free T4 (ng/dL) 1.0. (0.6-3.7 ng/dL)
Free T4 (pmol/L) 12.9 (7.7-47.6 pmol/L)
cTSH .11 (0.05-0.42 ng/ml)
Thyroglobulin AA Screen 4%
 

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The thyroid blood panel shows that her thyroid is functioning normally. To explain, if a dog's values are in the "low normal" on a total T4 test, which usually shows on a regular blood test, then you pursue a thyroid panel. Your dog has a low normal total T4. To confirm a diagnosis of hypo, you look for low free T4 and high TSH. The values for both of those are within the normal range. Her autoantibodies for thyroglobulin are 4%, meaning very little pathology exists. Unfortunately, because of the progressive nature of thyroid issues, these results still cannot necessarily be used to rule out hypothyroid. I would discuss repeat testing in 4-7 weeks with your veterinarian to see if there is further decline in thyroid function.

Edit: I moved this thread to a more appropriate area

And I wanted to elaborate a bit more on your dog's results. The importance of a normal (vs a high TSH level for hypo) TSH means that your dog's body is not producing more thyroid stimulating hormone to produce more T4. It recognizes that the T4 values are normal. You can kind of imagine it like a product vs demand system: if the body has decreased T4 it sends a signal to the brain to increase production of TSH, which in turn produces more T4. Alternatively, if the body has too much T4, you would suspect a low TSH, as the body is saying "we do not need more".
 

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Our first golden retriever, Scooter, was about 4 when he started to put on weight, sleep all the time, fur getting dry and thin and even his temperaent toward kids changed. We thought tht was because of the brats that lived next door. But once hewas diagnosed and put on meds, he lost theweight, fur got nice, more enrgyand had no problem with kids. Several yers later hisfull brother, later litter was in for a dental. Ialwasy hve full panel run before dental, etc. My vet was shocked to find Buck's thyroid was super lower. But he did not have a single symptom. Tests repeated--yet, his thyroid was super low. Was put on the meds and no chang since their had been none for the worse.

Me, my low thyroid, my hair got thin, no energy, skin dry. I went on thyroid meds and my hair didn't thicken up, skin stayed dry, but not itchy.
 

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This may not be science, but in my experience Golden Retrievers as a breed typically need thyroid medication if they are in the low end of normal. Sending her labs to Dr. Dodds is a good idea, but I would also talk to your vet about trying medication to see if it changes her overall health that you are concerned about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the feedback. I agree that it would be worth trying but our vet is not willing to treat with her levels. Does anyone know if she tries medication and there’s no change, can she then go off It ? The frustrating part is that there are no other thoughts as to what all of these symptoms could be indicating.
 

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Thank you for the feedback. I agree that it would be worth trying but our vet is not willing to treat with her levels. Does anyone know if she tries medication and there’s no change, can she then go off It ? The frustrating part is that there are no other thoughts as to what all of these symptoms could be indicating.
Do you have an update for us? I'm in a similar situation with my three year old golden- T4-1.5, Free T4- 1.3 cTSH 0.9. But gaining weight like crazy, acting aggressive toward other dogs for the first time ever, hot spots that won't heal. Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

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FWIW if I suspect hypothyroid I send the blood to Dr. Dodds at www.HemoPet.org And let her run the tests and do the evaluation. She is a leading authority of hypothyroid in dogs and understand the nuances between breeds (e.g., that values that would be considered normal for most breeds may not be normal for a Golden). She is also great about consulting with you and/or your vet about the results and recommended treatment. If SHE says there is no indication of hypothyroid, then I would trust that assessment and start looking for other explanations for the symptoms.
 
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