Breed-specific reference intervals for assessing thyroid function in seven dog breeds.


Thyroxine (T4), free T4 (FT4), and thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations were measured in serum from 693 healthy representatives from 7 dog breeds (Alaskan Malamute, Collie, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Keeshond, Samoyed, or Siberian Husky) to determine whether breed-specific reference intervals (RIs) are warranted. Veterinarians reviewed the health history, performed a physical examination, and approved laboratory data for the enrolled dogs. Many purebred dogs had T4 and FT4 concentrations that were at, or below, the lower limits previously determined for non-breed-specific RIs. Mean concentrations of T4, FT4, and TSH varied significantly among breeds. The range of mean concentration of T4 (19.7 nmol/L [1.53 µg/dL] in English Setters to 29.0 nmol/L [2.25 µg/dL] in Keeshonds) and FT4 (12.6 pmol/L [0.98 ng/dL] in English Setters to 20.2 pmol/L [1.57 ng/dL] in Samoyeds) was considerable. Median TSH values ranged from 6.10 mIU/L (0.07 ng/mL; Alaskan Malamute and Golden Retriever) to 17.6 mIU/L (0.26 ng/mL; Collie). Mean T4 and FT4 concentrations were higher in females. Increasing age was associated with decreasing T4 and FT4, and increasing TSH concentration. The substantial ranges across breeds of measures of central tendency (mean, median) for all hormones indicate that breed-specific RIs are warranted. RIs encompassing the central 95% of reference values for all breeds combined, and for individual breeds, were calculated using nonparametric (TSH) and robust (T4, FT4) methods. Use of breed-specific RIs in combination with careful attention to the potential for pre-analytical and analytical variability in test results will improve thyroid function assessment in these breeds.

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