Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Animal Hospital Association has released a free resource designed to help veterinary teams diagnose and manage endocrine conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and Addison’s disease.
“Endocrinology is an ever-evolving field, so the guidelines serve as a one-stop quick reference for information spanning a variety of endocrine conditions encountered clinically,” said Andrew Bugbee, DVM, DACVIM, the co-chair of the guidelines task force.
The 2023 AAHA Selected Endocrinopathies of Dogs and Cats Guidelines address canine hypothyroidism, canine hypercortisolism (Cushing’s syndrome), canine hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) and feline hyperthyroidism. Less common feline endocrinopathies, such as hyperaldosteronism, hypothyroidism and hypercortisolism, also are covered.
The resource encourages a team-based approach involving clients and the entire veterinary team.
“Learning that a beloved pet has a chronic disease isn’t easy,” said Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, AAHA’s chief medical officer. “The guidelines also offer client communication and team utilization guidance to navigate these often-emotional situations.”
Key takeaways include:
- Make routine biannual health visits part of the health plan.
- Always evaluate for concurrent diseases.
- Streamline appointments by allowing veterinary technicians to educate clients about a pet’s condition.
- Before making a diagnosis, consider that certain breeds and active working dogs might have low thyroid hormone levels but not thyroid disease.
- Use questionnaires to help with ongoing monitoring and medication adjustments.
- Perform a physical examination and minimum database for hyperthyroid cats at least every six months, or more frequently if significant comorbidities are present.
“The guidelines can help reduce some of the stress of managing complicated cases and help standardize the approach to taking care of patients with endocrine disease,” said Renee Rucinsky, DVM, DABVP (Feline), the task force’s other co-chair.
“My hope is that veterinarians are able to use this concise resource to remain comfortable with current diagnostic and treatment recommendations for their patients,” Dr. Rucinsky said.
Learn more at bit.ly/3ICTb3s.