Breed-specific reference intervals for assessing thyroid function in seven dog breeds

Rebecca L. Hegstad-Davies, Sheila M.F. Torres, Leslie C. Sharkey, Sarah C. Gresch, Claudia A. Muñoz-Zanzi, Peter R. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Thyroxine (T4), free T4 (FT4), and thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations were measured in serum from 693 healthy representatives from 7 dog breeds (Alaskan Malamute, Collie, English Setter, Golden Retriever, Keeshond, Samoyed, or Siberian Husky) to determine whether breed-specific reference intervals (RIs) are warranted. Veterinarians reviewed the health history, performed a physical examination, and approved laboratory data for the enrolled dogs. Many purebred dogs had T4 and FT4 concentrations that were at, or below, the lower limits previously determined for non–breed-specific RIs. Mean concentrations of T4, FT4, and TSH varied significantly among breeds. The range of mean concentration of T4 (19.7 nmol/L [1.53 µg/dL] in English Setters to 29.0 nmol/L [2.25 µg/dL] in Keeshonds) and FT4 (12.6 pmol/L [0.98 ng/dL] in English Setters to 20.2 pmol/L [1.57 ng/dL] in Samoyeds) was considerable. Median TSH values ranged from 6.10 mIU/L (0.07 ng/mL; Alaskan Malamute and Golden Retriever) to 17.6 mIU/L (0.26 ng/mL; Collie). Mean T4 and FT4 concentrations were higher in females. Increasing age was associated with decreasing T4 and FT4, and increasing TSH concentration. The substantial ranges across breeds of measures of central tendency (mean, median) for all hormones indicate that breed-specific RIs are warranted. RIs encompassing the central 95% of reference values for all breeds combined, and for individual breeds, were calculated using nonparametric (TSH) and robust (T4, FT4) methods. Use of breed-specific RIs in combination with careful attention to the potential for pre-analytical and analytical variability in test results will improve thyroid function assessment in these breeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation (Grant 372: Determination of breed-specific reference intervals for assessing thyroid function in several breeds), The Collie Foundation, and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © 2015 The Author(s).


  • Breed specific
  • Canine
  • Healthy
  • Reference intervals
  • Thyroid function


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