Cluster of cases of congenital feline goitrous hypothyroidism in a single hospital

J Small Anim Pract. 2020 Nov;61(11):696-703. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13231. Epub 2020 Sep 24.


Objectives: To describe the clinicopathological findings and outcomes of cases of feline congenital hypothyroidism diagnosed in a single veterinary hospital in Santiago, Chile.

Materials and methods: Medical records were searched for cases of congenital hypothyroidism over an 18-month period. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism based on consistent historical and clinical findings, a low or low-normal serum total T4 and elevated serum canine TSH (cTSH).

Results: Six unrelated cats ranging in age from 4 to 19 months met the inclusion criteria. The most common historical signs were small stature and lethargy. All cats had disproportionate dwarfism, delayed tooth eruption, retained deciduous teeth, bilateral palpable goitres and low rectal temperatures. Other findings were bradycardia, obesity, poor hair coat and focal alopecia on the ventral aspects of the elbows and hocks. In all cases, cTSH was markedly elevated. Sequential changes noted after the initiation of therapy included normal T4 after 6 weeks, improved hair coat and increased physical activity by 8 weeks, normal cTSH by 10 weeks and normal physical appearance and dentition after 4 months. Goitres shrank markedly but remained palpable. Hypothyroidism was well managed clinically in all cases 2 years after diagnosis except for one cat that died of unrelated causes.

Clinical significance: This is the first report to describe a cluster of congenital hypothyroidism cases in non-related cats that were presented over a short period of time. Growth defects resolve with treatment, even in cats diagnosed after puberty. Larger, prospective multi-centre studies are warranted to determine the incidence of congenital hypothyroidism in cats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cats
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism* / drug therapy
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism* / epidemiology
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism* / veterinary
  • Hyperthyroidism* / veterinary
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine