Addisons Disease Information

Addisons disease is related to the dog's adrenal gland, the gland simply does not produce enough chemicals such as cortisol and aldosterone.

This disease can cause serious and fatal health complications, however the likeliness of it to become fatal is rare.

Dogs with this disease have a drop in sodium levels. When sodium levels decrease, the amount of potassium starts to increase. The adrenal gland causes these imbalances to occur.

This gland fails to produce enough of a steroid hormone called aldosterone. When there is a lack of aldosterone in the body, sodium and potassium become off balance and symptoms will begin to show.

The body stops producing the required amount of aldosterone gradually, which means that these affects will not be sudden.

You will slowly start to see your dog get sick and not be himself. The symptoms to this disease are very vague and could mimic other diseases, which is why it is incredibility hard to accurately diagnose.

It is quite commonly confused with kidney dog disease. Symptoms include, but not limited to, fatigue, sweating, muscle pain, diarrhea, suddenly ill, vomiting, wight loss, falls down and is unable to get back up, and muscle weakness.

There are two main causes as to why Addisons disease occurs. When dogs fall ill or sick, some vets might administer steroid hormones or other medication to make them better.

Medications will temporary affect the gland. As the body is already being feed steroids, the gland might stop or slow down it's natural ability to produce its own chemicals as it does not want to over medicate the body.

When the vet's medication is suddenly stopped, it might take a while for the dog to bring his hormone levels back to normal. In turn, this might cause some symptoms to be present.

The second reason and the more likely one is that there is simply something wrong or off about the adrenal gland. There isn't a narrowed down explanation as to why this occurs just yet.

Vets are still debating whether there is something wrong with the adrenal gland itself or something within the body that is affecting the gland.

Though, opposing opinions have settled on an agreement that it is due to an inappropriate immune response. It causes the gland to slightly deteriorate and completely throw off hormone production.

Breeds that are more likely at risk of having Addisons disease are:

  • Rottweilers
  • Chinese Crested Dogs
  • Bearded Collies
  • Standard Poodles
  • Great Danes
  • Portugese Water Dogs
  • West Highland White Terriers

Dogs who start to have this dog disease are mostly between the ages of 4 to 8 years old.

Females dogs are about 70% more likely to get this disease than males. The good news is that female dogs that have been sprayed have shown less occurrences.

Dogs with this disease will have to take medicine for the rest of their life to ensure proper amounts of steroids are administered.

The aldosterone chemical is not on the market at this current time, which means dogs will have to take a substitute drug.

See more about Addisons disease symptoms.

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