Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone Stimulation Test to Assess Thyroid Function in Severely Sick Cats

Tomsa K., Glaus T.M., Kacl G.M., et al.

J Vet Intern Med, 2001. 15(2): p.89-93.


Basal serum thyroxine (T4) concentration and the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test were used to assess thyroid function in 36 critically ill cats examined between July 1996 and October 1998. Of the 36 cats. hyperthyroidism (as underlying or complicating disease) was suspected in 22 based on clinical signs, palpable thyroid nodules, and abnormal thyroid gland histology (study group). Hyperthyroidism was not suspected in the remaining 14 cats, which served as the control group. Based on serum T4 concentrations, suppression of thyroid function was documented in 14 (64%) cats of the study group and in 10 (71%) cats of the control group. The TRH stimulation test revealed an increase in serum T4 of less than 50% of the baseline concentration in 18 (82%) cats of the study group, and in 6 (43%) cats of the control group. In conclusion, based on the results of serum T4 determinations and the TRH stimulation tests, it was not possible to differentiate between cats with clinical and histologic evidence of thyroid dysfunction (hyperthyroidism) and cats with severe nonthyroidal illnesses.