Addison’s Disease in Dogs

In this post, we shall talk about Addison’s disease in dogs, its symptoms, the diagnosis and treatment. Read on to discover all these.

What Is Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease in dogs
Addison’s disease in dogs

Hypoadrenocorticism, which is the scientific name for Addison’s disease, is a serious disease for dogs. However, with the right treatment, dogs with Addison’s disease are expected to live normal lives. When the adrenal glands are unable to produce the hormones that they are responsible for in the body, Addison’s disease develops.

Aldosterone and cortisol are two of the most significant steroids that the adrenal glands manufacture. The internal organs and body systems of your dog are significantly regulated by these steroids. Without them, your dog’s health deteriorates, which can cause significant problems or even death.

Symptoms of Addison’s Disease in Dogs

The wide range of symptoms that are connected to Addison’s disease in dogs make it challenging to diagnose. It is known as the “great imitator.” General symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs include recurrent gastroenteritis, poor appetite, gradual loss of physical condition, and an inability to react effectively under stress. It’s crucial to remember that Addison’s disease symptoms can wax and wane.

The effects of reduced aldosterone production on the body are significant. It causes variations in serum salt, chloride, and potassium levels, which have an impact on the kidneys. In turn, the circulatory and cardiovascular systems start to have issues.

Almost every significant tissue in the dog’s body depends on cortisol, the second main steroid hormone impacted by Addison’s disease. It controls the synthesis of glucose, metabolism, determines how fats and proteins are broken down, controls blood pressure, reduces inflammation, promotes the development of red blood cells, and reduces stress.

The symptoms that pet owners and veterinarians most frequently observe with the condition are caused by a decrease in the production of aldosterone and cortisol.

Signs And Symptoms Addison Disease:

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia (lack of appetite)
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Shaking
  • Weak pulse
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Low temperature
  • Painful abdomen
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin

How Is Addison Disease Diagnosed?

The tests on routine blood and urine tests, particularly electrolyte abnormalities, are used to make a diagnosis based on your pet’s medical history, including any medications, clinical symptoms, and test results. The ACTH-stimulation test is the most accurate way to diagnose Addison’s disease. To rule out a different explanation for your pet’s clinical indications, additional tests like basal cortisol levels, natural plasma ACTH, electrocardiograms (ECG), radiography (X-rays), or abdominal ultrasound may be carried out. Rarely, MRI or CT may be required to determine the source of a pituitary gland issue.

How Is Addison Disease Treated?

Most dogs with Addison’s disease can be properly treated once they have been diagnosed.

The FDA has approved the injectable drug desoxycorticosterone pivalate, also known as DOCP (brand names: Percorten®-V or Zycortal®), for the treatment of canine Addison’s disease. Depending on the patient, it is injected every 3–4 weeks to restore the lost mineralocorticoid aldosterone. Frequently, an oral glucocorticoid is added to it. A little training is required to administer DOCP injections at home.

DOCP is not appropriate for every dog, and some Addison’s patients respond best to oral drugs like fludrocortisone (sold under the brand name Florinef®), which act as a dual mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid replacement.

Diet and activity levels for your dog can frequently stay the same. Even after an Addisonian crisis, the majority of dogs return to their regular lives. Your vet will go over Addison’s treatment options with you and choose the best course of action for your dog.

What is the prognosis for a dog diagnosed with Addison’s disease?

Once diagnosed and treated with the appropriate drugs, the vast majority of patients with Addison’s disease have an excellent prognosis. You can learn more about your pet’s long-term prognosis from your veterinarian.

Originally posted 2022-10-18 23:10:43.

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