HYPOTHYROIDISM is usually caused by immune-mediated destruction or idiopathic atrophy of the thyroid gland. Diagnosis is initially based on historical and clinical findings consistent with the condition. If the history or clinical examination are inconsistent with the diagnosis, then other differential diagnoses should be thoroughly investigated before any investigations are conducted on the thyroid gland. Unfortunately, many dogs present with a history that is at least suggestive of hypothyroidism (for example, lethargy and poor coat condition), but clinical examination proves unrewarding. In these cases further tests are indicated. This article discusses the interpretation - and limitations - of specific tests of thyroid function and sets out a diagnostic protocol.
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