Congenital hypothyroidism of dogs and cats: A review

Bojanic K, Acke E, Jones B.

 N Z Vet J 2011;59:115-122.

Congenital hypothyroidism is a rare and underdiagnosed congenital endocrine disorder in dogs and cats and the true incidence is unknown. The disorder may cause a range of clinical signs depending on the primary defect, which affect production of thyroid hormones; some cases present when adult. Hallmark clinical signs of congenital hypothyroidism are mental impairment and skeletal developmental abnormalities, resulting in disproportionate dwarfism; goitre may or may not be present. Documented causes of congenital hypothyroidism in dogs include deficiency of, or unresponsiveness to, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) or thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroid dysgenesis, dyshormonogenesis and iodine deficiency. In cats, TSH unresponsiveness, thyroid dysgenesis, dyshormonogenesis and iodine deficiency have been confirmed. Adequate replacement therapy results in a successful outcome in the majority of cases, especially when started early in life, as permanent developmental abnormalities can be prevented. This review describes reported cases in dogs and cats, diagnostic investigation, and recommendations for treatment.