Serum thyroxine (T4) and 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations were determined every 3 h for 12 h beginning at 8 a.m. in 20 healthy euthyroid dogs, 19 dogs with hypothyroidism, and 18 euthyroid dogs with atopic dermatitis. Status of thyroid function was based on history, physical findings, results of thyrotropin response testing, and requirement for thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Mean serum T4 and T3 concentrations did not vary significantly between blood samplings within each of the three groups of dogs. Between groups of dogs, mean serum T4 concentration was significantly (P < 0.05) higher at each blood sampling time in healthy euthyroid dogs and euthyroid dogs with atopic dermatitis when compared to dogs with hypothyroidism. There was no significant difference in mean serum T4 concentration at any blood sampling time between healthy euthyroid dogs and euthyroid dogs with atopic dermatitis or in mean serum T3 concentrations at any blood sampling time between any of the three groups of dogs. Random fluctuation in serum T4 and T3 concentrations was found in dogs in all three groups. Random fluctuations were more common with serum T3 versus T4 concentrations. Consequently, sensitivity (0.88 versus 0.52), specificity (0.73 versus 0.45), predictive value for a positive test (0.75 versus 0.32), predictive value for a negative test (0.87 versus 0.65), and accuracy (0.80 versus 0.47) were better for serum T4 concentration than serum T3 concentration, respectively, when all blood samples were analysed. Measurement of serum T4 concentration was more accurate than serum T3 concentration in assessing the status of thyroid gland function.
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