Relationship between semi-quantitative thyroid palpation and total thyroxine concentration in cats with and without hyperthyroidism

Norsworthy GD, Adams VJ, McElhaney MR, et al.

J Feline Med Surg 2002;4:139-143.

In 155 cats, both with and without clinical signs of hyperthyroidism, total thyroxine (TT4) concentrations were compared to a sensitive, semi-quantitative thyroid palpation technique. On the basis of TT4 concentrations, 23 of the 155 cats were classified as hyperthyroid. The size of individual thyroid glands was scored between ‘0’ (non-palpable) and a maximum of ‘6’. One or more enlarged thyroid glands (score >0) were palpated in 22 of the 23 hyperthyroid cats and in 78 of the 132 euthyroid cats. However, none of the 132 euthyroid cats had a thyroid lobe score of greater than ‘3’ whereas 18 of the 23 hyperthyroid cats had a thyroid lobe score of ‘4’ or greater, and in two of the five that had scores below ‘4’ there was evidence of intrathoracic functional thyroid tissue on scintigraphy.