Association of Iatrogenic Hypothyroidism with Azotemia and Reduced Survival Time in Cats Treated for Hyperthyroidism

Williams T.L., Elliott J. and Syme H.M.

J Vet Intern Med, 2010. 24: p.1086-1092.


Background: Iatrogenic hypothyroidism can occur after treatment of hyperthyroidism, and is correlated with a reduced glomerular filtration rate in humans and dogs. Hypothesis: Cats with iatrogenic hypothyroidism after treatment for hyperthyroidism will have a greater incidence of azotemia than euthyroid cats. Animals: Eighty client owned cats with hyperthyroidism. Methods: Two retrospective studies. (1) Longitudinal study of 12 hyperthyroid cats treated with radioiodine (documented as euthyroid after treatment), to assess changes in plasma thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration over a 6-month follow-up period, (2) Cross-sectional study of 75 hyperthyroid cats (documented as euthyroid) 6 months after commencement of treatment for hyperthyroidism to identify the relationship between thyroid status and the development of azotemia. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed to identify relationships between thyroid and renal status and survival. Results: Plasma TSH concentrations were not suppressed in 7 of 8 cats with hypothyroidism 3 months after radioiodine treatment. The proportion of cats with azotemia was significantly (P= .028) greater in the hypothyroid (16 of 28) than the euthyroid group (14 of 47). Twenty-eight of 41 cats (68%) with plasma TT4 concentration below the laboratory reference range had an increased plasma TSH concentration. Hypothyroid cats that developed azotemia within the follow-up period had significantly (P= .018) shorter survival times (median survival time 456 days, range 231-1589 days) than those that remained nonazotemic (median survival time 905 days, range 316-1869 days). Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Iatrogenic hypothyroidism appears to contribute to the development of azotemia after treatment of hyperthyroidism, and reduced survival time in azotemic cats.