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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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Why in thyroid storm secondary toover dosage us SSKI (

Customer Question

Why in thyroid storm secondary toover dosage us SSKI ( POTASSIUM IODIDE) NOT EFFECTIVE IN DOGS AS IT IS Rx of choice in humans ? Thnx.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The vet Rx cytomel for acute s overdo sage . Wud not SSKI ( supersaturate potassium iodide)lock action quicker than cytomel which blocks production.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, my name is ***** ***** I would be happy to address your question for you, my apologies that it has taken someone so long to get back with you. I just wanted to clarify some things with you to make sure we're on the same page.

From what you've described, the vet prescribed cytomel for your dog. Cytomel is a thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism (which is a decrease in thyroid function, not an increase). Hypothyroidism is extremely common in dogs, so it would make sense if this were the diagnosis. It is extremely rare for us to see an excess in thyroid hormones in dogs (hyperthyroidism). You can read a bit more about cytomel and treating low thyroid here.

From what you're describing about the medication, it sounds like your dog was diagnosed with low thyroid function as opposed to increased thyroid function (HYPOthyroid as opposed to HYPERthyroid). Again, this would be the vastly more common scenario, and a thyroid pill such as cytomel would be appropriate in this case. Potassium iodide help treat an overactive thyroid as opposed to an underactive one.

However, you mention an acute overdosage, and I wanted to clear this up with you. Was this a thyroid pill that was ingested in overdose by your dog?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Levothyroxine 1.6 mg. meant for a 190lb dog was gobbled up by an 11 lb NEIGHBORS doglet which became symtomatic. ( A FULL REPLACEMENT dose in a human is only 0.3 mgm daily) The treatment was entirely erroneous and dangerous. I was questioning whether SSKI should be used in dogs in iatrogenic thyroid storm or were they different. Dog survived. There are bad vets just as bad physicians. AN MD.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.

Ah, yes that is an entirely inappropriate treatment in that case. Actually in cases of an accidental overdose such as the one you described generally does not result in toxicosis. Where an overdose of thyroid in a human can be very impactful, dogs can tolerate doses of up to 0.2 milligrams per kilogram before we take action. Generally the signs we see tend to be GI in nature below that threshold dose.

Now, we do start to see tachycardia and neurological stimulatory effects at doses higher than that, but treatment is geared towards mitigating the signs until the thyroid problem has cleared from the system, rather than potassium iodide. The standard of treatment in an acute overdose where clinical signs are expected are as follows:


-Administration of activated charcoal with a cathartic

-Clinical monitoring and providing fluids as needed

-Diazepam as needed for seizures, hyperactivity, and tremors

-Propranolol for tachycardia

-Lidocaine for ventricular arrhythmias

-Monitoring of blood work, serum thyroid levels, and electrolytes

They are then kept in the clinic until clinical signs resolve. Because of a dog's higher tolerance to thyroid hormones, they generally h ave a very good prognosis with treatment.

Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.

The half-life of T3 in the canine body is fairly short, and we expect to see serum concentrations return to normal in a matter of days. T4 can last longer in the body, but we are most concerned with the clinical signs associated with the neurological system and the heart - we want to stabilize and monitor a canine patient exposed to thyroid hormones until it has cleared from the system. Since the increase in thyroid hormones is iatrogenic, we don't target the thyroid gland in any way, or attempt to reduce the production of the thyroid hormone.

Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.

This is purely in a situation where we're seeing toxicosis, however. In situations where a dog is hyperthyroid from something like cancer (this is also pretty rare in dogs), the situation would be approached completely differently.

Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.

In cases of a tumor causing hyperthyroidism in a dog, the administration of radioactive iodine is a possibility, but due to the cost, it's not a very common treatment. In many cases, owners will opt for surgical removal of the thyroid gland instead.

Expert:  VetTechErin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?