We have labs, we have vet clinics, then we have clients.
The vet clinic in this instance is the middle man.
Cut out the middle man and you can get your testing cheaper - assuming the labs allow you to cut out the middle man, not all do (MSU would be one). When you have a middle man your cost helps offset their over head charges (staff, supplies, building, insurance, etc) and you are also paying for their interpretational skills which is not always created equal which is why I would prefer a board certified endocrinologist interpreting my results and my dog.
Caveat of cutting out the middle man means you now have to find someone to collect the blood for you($), put into the correct containers ($), properly pack (cold pack usually) for shipping ($$), then you have to ship ($$$) overnight and not on a weekend. You would be surprised how quickly it all adds up.
Make a mistake and you are back to square one ($$$$).
Our normal lab is Antech but we also use MSU, IDEXX and others. We have to ship just like a lay person does but due to bulk we are able to cut costs somewhat and pass them on to the client.
There are pros and cons to doing just the basic thyroid test (bare minimum would be FT4ed - skip the T4 as it is a waste, IMO but unfortunately standard) versus the more in depth testing that the OFA recommends. If you have a breeding animal - I rec'd doing more. If you are testing a non breeding animal who is showing signs of thyroid issues - I think starting with the FT4ed and basic blood profile is fine.
There is no need for the TgAA in a non breeding animal as it does not tell you anything about the function of the thyroid - which is what you are screening Bowdu for - function or lack thereof. I also feel the T3 tests are a waste in determining HYPOthyroid since the T4 is converted to T3 (the T4 is the first in line so if it is affected it stands to reason the T3 would also be so why spend money on testing it?).
Humans rarely if ever have T3's tested (in 30+ years living with thyroid disease I have never had anything but TSH and FT4ed) done. I imagine there are Dr.'s out there that feel we should be testing T3 as well but as of yet it is not an accepted method of testing for hypothyroidism. I am due for testing and looking at my test form - there is only one T3 test and its an uptake test which does not measure usable levels only circulating T3 proteins. Hardly useful in determining my function.
HSUS, PETA, ASPCA are all not for profit agencies - yet I would not lay down beside them on a National level. Just because someone or something is not for profit does not automatically mean or guarantee that they are without issues/concerns. Just something to think about.
Euthyroid sick dogs (sick from something not related to thyroid but which effects thyroid levels) will always respond to supplementation. Does not mean the dog necessarily needed it. You can also improve many things such as hair coat, fertility, etc (sheltie show people will attest to that) on dogs whose blood thyroid levels are normal. Does that mean they are hypothyroid or just responding normally to increased dosages of hormones??? Long term use though could have deleterious effects.
Having a reputation across multiple breeds as a thyroid specialist is not the same as having a similar reputation amongst your peers. I admit - I am still looking for peer reviewed and accepted articles and ideas of Dr. Dodds and am coming up short. That concerns me. As humans we naturally flock to those with similar ideas as ours, those who support our breeding practices and choices or those who validate what we are doing within a chosen field or who we are. This does not always equate to long term best interest of the dogs.
As the Antech liaison at my work I can answer your question re: why the senior panel. Antech realized many vets were ordering the same type of testing on dogs and cats of a certain age. The clinics and clients however were complaining that the tests were cost prohibitive. Antech decided to make bundles of tests that can be ordered as a unit at a far cheaper price then if ordered individually. They call them senior and or junior profiles (junior would have less tests in the bundle) amongst other things but they are the same tests that would be run on an animal of any age at any time individually. Yes - they could have just run the thyroid bundle of tests to see what Bowdu's function is but there are other things that can show up on normal blood work that can help form the big picture - increased triglycerides and cholesterol to name a few. Let's say Bowdu's thyroid levels are baseline - without symptoms or without other correlating blood work - the vets might think baseline is normal for him and do nothing. But with symptoms and with correlating blood work they might decide he is baseline now, headed for low, so lets treat for a trial of 3 months and see how he does.
Your vet was wrong when he told you "…that these kinds of extras were necessary in human diagnoses...." Human field rarely tests any of these things sans FT4ed and TSH. I think he would have been better to say those other tests are good for determining breeding animals potential for future hypothyroidism. He is correct that most of those tests tell you nothing regarding the function of the thyroid only the condition the thyroid is in at that moment in time. The FT4ed will tell you function, as will the chemistries/CBC. It is a good place to start but might not be the only place.
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