Ongoing research

Thyroid cancer in dogs

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At the Clinic Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UGent) there is currently an ongoing study into ' Improving the treatment of thyroid cancer in dogs '. PhD student Stephanie Scheemaeker, together with Professor Sylvie Daminet (supervisor) and Dr Kathelijne Peremans (co-supervisor), wishes to provide the most ideal treatment option for every dog with thyroid cancer.


The research has a twofold purpose:  

  • We wish to characterize the cancer as well as possible before initiating a therapy (eg surgery). On the one hand to be able to make a better estimate of the prognosis after therapy and on the other hand to find out which medication the cancer is sensitive to.

  • In addition, we wish to improve the successful treatment with radioactive iodine-131 in terms of effectiveness and safety in the interest of the dog as well as the environment.


In short, we wish to maximize the quality of life for any dog with thyroid cancer .

What do we investigate?

First, the diagnosis of thyroid cancer (thyroid carcinoma) must be confirmed in each dog. In addition, both the type of thyroid cancer and the sensitivity to radioactive iodine-131 should be known. Based on the characteristics of the cancer, your dog can participate in 1 of the 2 study components.  

In the first part of the study , we wish to investigate the safety and diagnostic value of a biopsy (taking a sample of tissue) in dogs with thyroid cancer. Any dog with thyroid cancer, opting for surgical removal of the cancer, is eligible for this, . The ultimate goal is to be able to safely apply this biopsy technique in dogs with thyroid cancer so that we can make a good prognostic estimate before starting a treatment. In addition, such a biopsy offers great added value for those dogs with thyroid cancer, who are not eligible for one of the usual therapies (eg surgery, radioactive iodine therapy, radiation). Using the biopsy, we can investigate which drug treatment the thyroid cancer is sensitive to. In this way we try to provide every dog with thyroid cancer with treatment.

Any dog with thyroid cancer, which is sensitive to radioactive iodine, is eligible for our second part of the study . In the second part of the study we want to investigate the influence of recombinant human thyroid stimulating hormone (rhTSH) on the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid cancer . In both humans and cats with thyroid cancer, an increased uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid cancer is noted with the use of rhTSH, leading to better effectiveness as well as safety for the patient and his environment. The study lasts 2 weeks, of which 2 x 2 research days with a 1 week break in between. Your dog will not be treated during this study. At the end of the study, the most appropriate treatment option is scheduled: surgery or radioactive iodine-131.  

Your beloved dog can be part of this study after which he himself can enjoy the most appropriate treatment. In addition, your dog is of great significance for further progress in the treatment of thyroid cancer in dogs.

More info

If you are interested in participating in this study and for more information:



Info brochures:

Thank you very much for your interest in this research! Let's fight thyroid cancer in dogs together!