Dogs With Addison's Disease
Addison's disease in dogs is a hormonal disorder that can cause a dog to get quite unwell due to electrolyte imbalances. You may learn more about Addison's disease in dogs and the treatment options available.
What Is Addison's Disease and How Does It Affect You?
In science, Addison's disease is referred to as hypoadrenocorticism, which is a phrase that typically refers to "low adrenal hormone levels." In addition, when the adrenal glands do not generate enough of the hormones essential to maintain proper electrolyte balance in the body.
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The adrenal glands are small glands that are placed close to the kidneys. The typical adrenal glands of a dog will release additional cortisol when the dog is stressed to assist the body respond to the physiological consequences of the stress. However, a lack of cortisol production will prevent the body from continuing to operate as it would otherwise. When the body's water and electrolytes are out of equilibrium, it can result in significant health problems.
Addison's disease is most frequent in dogs between five and ten. When compared to the opposite ailment in dogs, Cushing's disease, which results in an overproduction of cortisol, this disorder is considerably less prevalent.
Signs and symptoms of Addison's Disease in dogs
Dogs suffering from Addison's Disease may first show no indications of illness. When symptoms do occur, they might range from moderate to severe in severity. You should be aware that the signs and symptoms of Addison's disease can be ambiguous and appear similar to those of other conditions.
These or any other indicators of disease that persist for more than a day or two should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian.
Addison's Disease in Dogs: What Causes It?
The specific etiology of primary Addison's disease is unknown at present. It is thought to arise due to immune-mediated damage of the adrenal gland tissue. Secondary Addison's disease develops when the adrenal glands have been damaged by an external stimulus of some type, such as an infection. Trauma, tumors, and even drugs used to treat other disorders can all play a role in this process.
Certain dog breeds may be more susceptible to Addison's disease than others. Breeds such as the Bearded Collie, Great Dane, Portuguese Water Dog, Standard Poodle, West Highland White Terrier, and many others fall under this classification.
Addison's Disease in Dogs: Diagnosis and Treatment
Your veterinarian will begin by going over your pet's medical history and any present signs and symptoms. After that, a physical examination will be carried out. Dehydration, weak pulses, and a sluggish, erratic heart rate are symptoms of Addison's disease in dogs. However, laboratory testing will be required to discover the real reason for your dog's illness. Your veterinarian may begin by ordering routine laboratory testing, such as blood chemistry with electrolytes and a complete blood count. It may also be essential to perform a urine analysis.
According to blood work results, high potassium and low sodium levels are frequently observed in dogs with Addison's disease. There is an electrolyte imbalance in this situation. Kidney values may be impacted as well. The complete blood count (CBC) and a urinalysis may or may not be abnormal.
A provisional diagnosis of Addison's disease may be made based on the findings of the initial tests; however, more testing is required to confirm the diagnosis in most cases. In most instances, an ACTH stimulation test will be performed next. The results of this test will determine whether or not Addison's disease is present.
The ACTH stimulation test is carried out at your veterinarian's clinic over many hours. It is necessary to obtain a preliminary blood sample to determine a baseline cortisol level. Following that, an injection of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is administered to promote the production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. A blood sample is obtained one to two hours after the injection to assess cortisol levels again after the injection. A diagnosis of Addison's disease may be made if the cortisol level in the blood does not rise in a typical manner.
Given the possibility that other variables may be influencing your dog's cortisol levels, a non-definitive test result may necessitate more diagnostic testing. Your veterinarian will review all of the data with you and discuss the next steps for your dog.
Addison's Disease in Dogs Treatment
A severely unwell dog with Addison's disease will almost always require hospitalization until the condition is stabilized.
An Addisonian crisis is a medical term for this condition. Dogs are frequently dehydrated and have vomiting or diarrhea due to their illness. It is necessary to carefully rectify the electrolyte imbalance with fluid therapy and drugs to avoid more issues.
Fortunately, after the dog's electrolytes have been stabilized, most instances of Addison's disease may be controlled successfully with medication.
Ongoing management of Addison's dog typically entails the replacement of glucocorticoids (commonly prednisone), and the majority of patients require replacement of mineralocorticoids with either desoxycorticosterone pivalate or fludrocortisone, depending on their circumstances.
Regular laboratory testing is required to confirm that the electrolytes are adequately balanced.
Seeing a veterinarian as soon as possible is critical if a dog with Addison's disease shows even the slightest signs of illness. An Addisonian crisis can develop at any time. The sooner your dog receives care, the less severe the situation gets in most cases.
Is it possible to prevent Addison's disease in dogs?
There is currently no method to prevent a dog from having primary Addison's disease at this time. Secondary Addison's disease may be avoided if your dog is carefully monitored and controlled while taking any prescription drugs. Examining your pet can also assist your veterinarian in identifying risk factors for Secondary Addison's.
Early identification of Addison's disease might make it simpler to control the condition. When it comes to routine lab testing, listen to your veterinarian's instructions. The presence of mild anomalies may assist your veterinarian in diagnosing Addison's disease before your dog becomes unwell. The best method to keep your dog safe is to prevent an Addisonian crisis from occurring.