Addison’s disease in dog is also known as hypoadrenocorticism. Hypoadrenocorticism is reduced function of adrenal glands. Addison’s disease in dog is similar in symptoms and action to the human variety.
Adrenal glands are glands that are bean shaped, seen just near the kidneys. These glands may be small, but the dog can’t live without this glands. These glands are strawberry pink colored. These glands produce a hormone called cortisol.
The hormone cortisone increases the fat production, decreases inflammatory reactions, decreases the white blood cells number and suppresses the protective immune system.
The adrenal glands also produce yet another important hormone called epinephrine. Epinephrine is secreted in larger quantities during the stress. This hormone increases the blood sugar level, heart rate, and also speeds up the blood clotting time.
The increase in the blood flow happens to the muscles of the arm and the legs, not to the other organs. This happens only to help the dog to fight the situation or to run away from that.
Addison’s disease is not very common disease of dogs. This disease affects middle aged or young female dogs mostly.
Symptoms of Addison’s Disease in Dogs
The disease progresses very slowly and hence are not noticed in early stages. As the result the diagnosis of Addison’s disease is also not easy. The other symptoms such as weakness, vomiting, hypothermia, decreased heart rate, anorexia, trembling, dehydration, diarrhea, bloody stools, loss of hair, painful tummy and depression are seen just like that of many other disease conditions.
The heart irregularities and low blood pressure are noticed in many dogs. These signs do improve with any treatment. But if these signs are due to Addison’s disease the heart irregularities will resurface again after some time. Only at that time the dog will be subjected further examination to find out the root cause of the problem [Addison’s disease].
Diagnosis of Addison’s Disease in Dogs
The blood test will reveal deficiency of cortisol. The dog will be subjected to ACTH stimulation test. Here the dog is injected with ACTH. The dog suffering from Addison’s disease will not respond to this by increasing the serum cortisol level.
The secondary Addison’s disease can be diagnosed by conducting test for hypoadrenocorticism. The urinary creatinine / cortisol ratio also helps to diagnose Addison’s disease.
Treatment of Addison’s Disease in Dogs
The frightening condition of the Addison’s disease in dog is life threatening which requires immediate treatment. The intravenous administration of saline and injection of synthetic cortisol is must in these situations.
Once the acute stage of Addison’s disease in dog is crossed, then those dogs can be maintained with prednisolone for one or two days once the diarrhea and/or the vomiting stopped.
When the dogs are under stress the dosage requires to be increased to five to ten times. When the blood potassium level is elevated, the dogs must be supplemented with fludrocortisone acetate to balance the serum salt level. Some dog do require bicarbonate either through mouth or through injection in order to neutralize the acid.
Prognosis of Addison’s Disease
Prognosis for addison’s disease in dogs is excellent, when appropriately treated with hydrocortisone and aldosterone. Hence as an owner of a prestigious pet, you need not worry about Addison’s disease in dogs.