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Aust Vet J. 2014 Nov;92(11):437-42. doi: 10.1111/avj.12237. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Hypothyroidism associated with acromegaly and insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus in a Samoyed.

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University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital, Department of Small Animal Medicine, 250 Princes Highway, Werribee, Victoria, 3030, Australia.



The aetiology of insulin resistance (IR) in naturally occurring canine hypothyroidism is poorly understood and likely multifactorial. Excess secretion of growth hormone (GH) by transdifferentiated pituitary cells may contribute to IR in some hypothyroid dogs, but although this has been demonstrated in experimental studies, it has not yet been documented in clinical cases.


A 4-year-old male entire Samoyed presented with an 8-month history of pedal hyperkeratosis and shifting lameness, which had been unresponsive to zinc supplementation, antibiotics and glucocorticoid therapy. The dog also exhibited exercise intolerance and polydipsia of 12 and 2 months duration, respectively. On physical examination, obesity, poor coat condition, widened interdental spaces and mild respiratory stridor were noted. Initial laboratory test results revealed concurrent hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus (DM). Further investigations showed IR, GH excess and a paradoxical increase of GH following stimulation with thyrotropin-releasing hormone.


To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case that suggests that GH alterations may have clinical significance in naturally occurring hypothyroidism. Among other factors, hypothyroidism-induced GH excess should be considered as a possible cause of IR in patients suffering from hypothyroidism and concurrent DM. In such cases, DM may reverse with treatment of hypothyroidism, as was documented in this case.


acromegaly; diabetes mellitus; dogs; hypothyroidism; insulin resistance

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