Resource Articles

Addison's Disease in Dogs
Posted on 11/13/2012

Addison’s disease in dogs is more common that it was many  years ago, and the name of the condition used to describe adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal gland is composed of two parts, the cortex and the medulla. The cortex, or outer layer, secretes corticosteroid hormones.

When these hormones are reduced, the regulation of sodium levels in the blood reduced and the potassium levels increase. With increased potassium, blood pressure is depressed and the result can be fatal.

The reduction of corticosteroids frequently means that your dog cannot deal with stress correctly. This hormone also helps to regulate the body’s use of nutrients and maintain cardiac functions.

The symptoms of Addison’s can be vague and the diagnosis is often difficult. Common symptoms can be depression, listlessness, muscle weakness, vomiting and diarrhea (possibly with traces of blood), complaints of joint pain, loss of appetite, involuntary shivering or muscle tremors. The most serious symptom may be a sudden, stress induced collapse. This collapse requires an emergency trip to your veterinarian. Many of these symptoms are also seen with other problems and may not indicate Addison’s but other conditions.

Diagnosis is done via lab tests to determine sodium and potassium levels as well as a heart EKG to see the heart rhythm and speed.

Once diagnosed, this condition can usually be controlled and the dog can lead a normal life.

Although any dog can have Addison’s, it is more likely to be found in young to middle aged female dogs with the highest probability of incidence in Labradors, Standard Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs. Other canine conditions which make the dog more prone to infections and tumors are also more likely to be diagnosed with Addison’s disease. The use of certain steroids to treat other conditions can also predispose the dog to have adrenal function problems resulting in Addison’s disease. Traumatic damage to the kidneys, infections and/ or autoimmune conditions may also develop into Addison’s.

This is a condition which must be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

Nutritional support is not only beneficial in the prevention of this disease, but in managing it once the dogs have been diagnosed.  The most benefit will be achieved by using the Immune Support Kit#11 to rebalance the system.

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