Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) is
the insufficient production of essential adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland.
It can be an extremely serious disease and should be
treated as such. Medications commonly prescribed
for Addisons include Florinef and
Percorten V and
sometimes corticosteroids. Treatment decisions depend on what kind of
addison's disease your dog has and how it is progressing.
There are different kinds of Addison's disease in dogs.
Primary Canine Addison's Disease is a result of the adrenals ceasing to function,
possibly from immune-mediated destruction of the adrenals, cancer or
other diseases. Secondary Addison's Disease in dogs is often the result of
a reduced secretion of ACTH by the pituitary gland that
has caused the Adrenals to stop functioning properly. There is also an Atypical Addison's
related to a failure of the Adrenals to produce glucocorticoid hormones.
meds and treatment will vary depending on the kind of Addison's Disease your dog has.
Canine Addison's can be difficult to diagnose.
Some symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy,
muscle weakness and vomiting
can be similar to other ailments. These symptoms can also result as side effects to certain medication.
Diagnosis often begins with a thorough
process of elimination of other diseases.
Usually, tests will be run before a final diagnosis
including an ACTH stimulation or Electrolyte test depending upon which kind of
Addison's disease is suspected.
Once diagnosed, your veterinarian will prescribe a medication for your dog's specific needs.
It can sometimes take a lot of trial and error to determine the proper dosage and treatment
that will work best for your dog, so be prepared to be patient with this initial process.
Some helpful advice includes keeping a daily journal with detailed records -
symptoms, weight changes, medication
dosages, daily habits, supplements, behavior, etc. - note any changes as well.
Look for patterns as this can
be helpful in identifying what is or is
not working for your dog.
Dogs with Addison’s disease will need medication and monitoring for the rest of their years,
however, there is good news - with lots of love and care they should be
able to enjoy a fulfilling, active, happy life just the same.