Michigan State to study canine thyroid disease

The Michigan State University study will focus on dogs with elevated thyroglobulin autoantibodies as a marker for early stage autoimmune thyroiditis

Two professors from Michigan State University recently received funding from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals to study thyroid disease in dogs. Specifically, the study will focus on dogs with elevated thyroglobulin autoantibodies (TgAA) as a marker for early stage autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT).

Identification of elevated TgAA with otherwise normal thyroid hormone concentrations is referred to as ‘subclinical thyroiditis,’ according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, which announced the study in late August. Dogs with subclinical thyroiditis are considered at risk of progression to hypothyroidism.

It is assumed, the AKC Canine Health Foundation noted, that while dogs with subclinical thyroiditis have increased TgAA, the rate of progression to hypothyroidism varies, and not all dogs with increased TgAA will become hypothyroid.

The professors—Brian Petroff, DVM, Ph.D., and Kent Refsal, DVM, Ph.D.,—aim to more accurately define the proportion of dogs that subsequently develop hypothyroidism, and a progression timeline.

“Year after year, thyroid disease has been listed among the top 10 parent club health concerns,” said Eddie Dziuk, chief operating officer of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. “The [Orthopedic Foundation for Animals] is pleased to join our long-standing partner, the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and one of the country’s leading endocrine labs at Michigan State University, in pursuing and funding this important research.”

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