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Addison's disease (hypoadrenocorticism) is caused by a lower than normal production of hormones, such as cortisol, by the adrenal glands. The adrenals are small glands that are located near the kidneys. Adrenal hormones are necessary to control salt, sugar, and water balance in the body.
Addison's disease occurs less commonly than the opposite condition, Cushing's disease (overproduction of cortisol) in dogs.
Addison's disease occurs most commonly in young to middle-aged female dogs. The average age is about 4 years old.
The signs of
Addison's disease may be severe and appear suddenly, or may occur
intermittently and vary in severity. Signs may include weakness,
depression, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased
thirst, and increased urine production. One lesser known sign is hair
growth, the dogs hair will actually grow in length and stay that way
until medication is given. Typically most vets will miss this as
they do not know what is normal for your dog.
laboratory tests often show a low blood sodium and high blood potassium.
Loss of water, vomit and diarrhea, can lead to dehydration. Severe
dehydration increases waste products in the blood that are normally
eliminated by the kidneys. Addison's disease can be confused with
primary kidney disease. Some dogs with Addison's disease have low
There are two
stages of treatment for Addison's disease; in-hospital treatment and
long term treatment. Very sick dogs with Addison's disease require
intravenous fluids, cortisol-like drugs, and drugs to neutralize the
effects of potassium on the heart.
Link to Addison's information:
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