Thyroid Cancer in a Small Dog

The animal in this case was a 9 year old small mixed breed dog with a history of swelling in the neck.  The owner reported that this animal had been diagnosed with canine hypothyroidism about 1 year prior and had been on medicine since.  They noticed the swelling in the animals neck about 1 month before coming to our clinic.  The growth was so large, it was obstructing the airways of the dog.  Severe respiratory effort was noted on exam.  An MRI was obtained and a diagnosis of severe late stage thyroid cancer was made.  Prognosis was grave for this patient.  The animal later passed due to respiratory difficulty.  This case illustrates the importance of imaging as a diagnostic tool.  General Practice Veterinarians are not accustomed to MRI technology (it has only recently been available to veterinarians) and do not fully understand when to take advantage of this new technology.  With many of the cases we see in practice daily, imaging can be used to catch neoplasia and other conditions in the early stages, allowing for earlier and more precise intervention and possible cures.