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Thyroid Testing

What is a thyroid test?


A thyroid test is a blood test to evaluate the function of the thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormone, an important hormone in the regulation and maintenance of body functions. A thyroid test is indicated in any animal, especially the elderly that are exhibiting symptoms of abnormal thyroid functioning. It is often used as a screening test for underlying illness or disease.

What does a thyroid test reveal?


A thyroid test will reveal the levels of circulating thyroid hormone in the blood. High levels of thyroid hormone indicate an overproduction by the thyroid gland, typically related to a thyroid tumor. Low levels indicate a poorly functioning thyroid gland, usually associated with immune system disorders that result in destruction of the thyroid gland by the body.

How is a thyroid test done?


In order to perform a thyroid test, a technician must draw a blood sample, which is placed in a special glass tube. The blood sample is allowed to clot, and is then placed in a centrifuge, where it is divided into two parts: serum and a blood clot. The serum is removed and submitted to a laboratory for analysis.  The results take 1 to 2 days to come in and then the veterinarian reviews results and calls with the findings.

Is a thyroid test painful?


The pain involved is associated with the collection of the blood sample. A needle is used to pierce the skin and enter a blood vessel to draw the sample. As with people, the pain experienced from a needle will vary from individual to individual.

Is sedation or anesthesia needed for a thyroid test?


Neither sedation nor anesthesia is needed in most patients; however, some pets that really resent needle sticks may need tranquilization or ultra-short anesthesia, this is very rare and would be discussed with you ahead of time

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