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Symptoms of canine addison disease

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Posted on May 21 2018

It is also known as hypoadrenocorticism and is caused by a deficiency of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. In a way, it is the opposite of canine Cushing's disease, a condition in which the adrenal glands produce an excess of cortisol.

Addison's disease in dogs is believed to be caused by an autoimmune disease that causes the body to destroy its own tissue, in this case, the adrenal gland. Other conditions can, however, damage the adrenal glands and cause Addison's disease. Dogs that have cancer in other parts of the body can develop the disease.



Addison's disease causes a reduction in aldosterone production. This, in turn, affects the levels of potassium, sodium and chloride in the blood. Potassium can build up in the blood and cause irregular or slow heartbeats. In severe cases, dogs can become weak or go into shock.

While any dog ​​can develop Addison's disease, some breeds are more likely:

  • Portuguese water dogs
  • collies barbudos
  • standard poodles
  • The Great Danes
  • Gently coated wheat terriers
  • Airedale
  • The outcrop dogs
  • Springer Spaniel
  • West Highland Terriers blancos

Symptoms of Addison's disease include:
  • Repeated episodes of vomiting and diarrhea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • Dehydration;
  • Rapid weight loss;
  • bad health in general.

If left untreated, Addison's disease can be serious. Consequences such as shock and kidney failure can occur suddenly.

The diagnosis of Addison's disease Your veterinarian will diagnose Addison based on history and symptoms, in addition to laboratory tests and evaluation of your dog's adrenal function.

Confirmation of the results of the blood tests will show:
  • Low levels of sodium in the blood
  • High levels of potassium in the blood
  • Adrenal function tests measure the amount of cortisol in the blood. If it is low, adrenocorticotropin, a hormone from the adrenal gland, a stimulant, will be administered. The cortisol levels are then retested. If there is little or no response to corticotropin, it can be assumed that your dog has Addison's disease.
Adrenal crisis

A severe case of adrenal deficiency is a veterinary emergency. intravenous fluids will be necessary to restore normal levels of fluids, salt and blood glucose.

Treatment for Addison's disease Once diagnosed, the dog will begin hormone replacement therapy. Regular visits to the veterinarian will be necessary in order to control hormone levels and adjust medications if necessary.

Usually, your veterinarian will prescribe fludrocortisone acetate or Percorten-V acetate. A short course of prednisone may also be prescribed.
  • Diet for Addison's disease in combat dogs
  • A well-balanced, high-quality diet is important for all dogs, but for dogs fighting against Addison's disease, it is especially important. Choose a brand that contains an easy digestion, meat named as your firstingredient.
  • Many dogs are allergic to the ingredients of common dog food. Look for foods that do not contain corn, wheat or soy.
  • Avoid foods that contain synthetic preservatives such as BHT, BHA or ethoxyquin.
Supplements to treat Addison's disease

Check with your veterinarian when choosing supplements for your Addison's dog.
  • Beneficial supplements may include: 
  • Multivitamin with vitamins C, E & A to support immune function
  • Nettle, dandelion and spirulina contain vitamins and minerals that support the adrenal function
  • Probiotic supplement to replenish beneficial intestinal bacteria and aid digestion 

Treated properly, canine Addison's disease can be managed successfully.Dogs with Addison's disease can lead a long, full and active life.

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