Updates on Thyroid Disease in Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2020 May;23(2):373-381. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2020.01.007.


Hyperthyroidism seems to be a rare, but likely underdiagnosed disease of guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) and rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Diagnosis is confounded by nonspecific clinical signs, lack of validated assays, and species-specific reference intervals. With increasing English-language publications on the topic, naturally occurring thyroid disease is likely to be increasingly diagnosed in exotic small mammals. The most consistently observed clinical signs include weight loss with or without a change in appetite and a palpable cervical mass. Diagnosis is supported by elevated blood thyroxine concentrations. Treatment may include thyreostatic agents, radioactive iodine, or surgical thyroidectomy.

Keywords: Cavia porcellus; Guinea pig; Hyperthyroidism; Oryctolagus cuniculus; Rabbit; Thyroxine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Guinea Pigs*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Rabbits*
  • Species Specificity
  • Thyroid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Diseases / veterinary*
  • Thyroidectomy / veterinary
  • Thyroxine / analysis


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Thyroxine