I only saw this post now as I was searching through older posts. It's not even that 'old', but it got pushed back by so many new threads going on now. I'm sorry about that!
I attended Dr. Jean Dodds' seminar while at the National Specialty in San Mateo last week. She recommends doing a Complete Basic thyroid test that will include: T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3, T4AA, T3AA, TSH and TgAA.
Her quote: "The TgAA assay is especially important in screening breeding stock for heritable autoimmune thyroid disease."
Dr. Dodds said that the typical test won't include all of these and that the results from those aren't enough to know if there is a thyroid issue.
She also said that many vets wait until there are more symptoms, because many test results come back 'normal', but you have to look at what end of normal the numbers are at. Are they 'low normal' or 'high within the normal range' and it's important to look at behavior. Waiting until you see worsening of symptoms isn't ideal. Why not treat before that becomes an issue? Makes sense to me, esp. because I've been going through the ups and downs of thyroid testing and treatment on myself for a couple of years!
I can't type out all the documentation she handed out, but here are some of the "clinical signs of canine hypothyroidism":
Alterations in cellular metabolism
- weight gain, mood swings, mental dullness/lethargy, stunted growth, ... )
- weakness, head tilt, drooping eyelids, incontinence,...
- coarse/dull coat, scaly skin, bad odor, seborrhea...
- slow heart rate
- constipation, vomiting
- infections of eye glands, uveitis
Dogs may become aggressive more often or have seizures.
You can read up on Dr. Dodds work and lab at: http://www.hemopet.org/index.html
Hemolife lab will provide more accurate thyroid test results than many other labs and it's not very costly at all.
Hope this helps!