Thyroid tumors in dogs and cats

Barber LG.

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2007;37:755-773, vii.

The clinical presentation and biologic behavior of thyroid tumors vary widely among dogs, cats, and human beings. Although thyroid tumors in dogs are rare, they are most likely to be malignant. Clinical signs are usually the result of impingement on surrounding structures, and clinical hyperthyroidism is rare. In contrast, hyperthyroidism resulting from benign thyroid proliferation is relatively common among older cats. Malignant tumors are extremely uncommon but have high metastatic potential. Irrespective of the tumor’s ability to produce functional thyroid hormone, scintigraphy is often helpful in the diagnosis and staging of thyroid tumors in all three species. Treatment with surgery is a reasonable treatment option for noninvasive tumors. Iodine 131 is a well-established treatment for thyroid nodules in cats, but its effectiveness in dogs is controversial. In dogs, external beam radiation therapy has produced more consistent results in affording local tumor control when surgery is not possible.