Levothyroxine Supplementation in Hypothyroid Bitches During Pregnancy
Cecere, Julie T.
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Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disease in dogs and has been shown to have a hereditary nature in many breeds. Previous studies have documented decreased fertility in bitches with experimentally-induced hypothyroidism, decreased viability at birth, increased periparturient mortality, and reduced birth weight in pups born to hypothyroid dogs. Hypothyroid women have an increased demand for exogenous thyroxine throughout gestation in order to maintain normal plasma concentrations of thyroid hormones and produce neuropsychologically normal children. This study was performed to determine if pregnancy causes a similar need for increased levothyroxine dosages in dogs to maintain a euthyroid state. Serum was harvested from blood collected from six bitches with experimentally-induced hypothyroidism that were receiving standard thyroid hormone replacement therapy and from four euthyroid control bitches. Thyroid function tests performed on these samples included total thyroxine (T4), free T4 (FT4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and 3,5,3'-triiodinine (T3). Thyroid concentrations were measured from ovluation through the end of pregnancy. All bitches whelped normal litters. Euthyroid bitches had no significant alterations in their hormone concentrations throughout pregnancy. None of the supplemented hypothyroid bitches had clinical signs of hypothyroidism throughout the study. Serum concentrations of T4 and FT4 were elevated at multiple sample points during gestation. The results from this study indicate that standard levothyroxine supplementation is adequate to maintain a euthyroid state during pregnancy in experimentally-induced hypothyroid dogs. In addition, there is no evidence that canine thyroid profiles in euthyroid dogs are altered during gestation.
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