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Addison's Disease in Dogs

Addison’s disease affects the adrenal gland causing a deficiency the hormone cortisol, which in turn affects the gland’s steroid production. Without proper steroid production in the body a host of issues can develop. Addison’s disease can be extremely serious, and sometimes even fatal; worse still, it is often called “The Great Pretender” because at early stages it symptoms fall within the range of host of other possible diseases and ailments. Signs and symptoms, in the early to middle stages, usually include:

  • Vomiting right after a meal.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination and diarrhea

In later stages one may progress into acute symptoms, otherwise known as an ‘Addisonian Crisis’ and this is a constellation of symptoms that indicate severe adrenal insufficiency. These symptoms, which signal immediate medical attention, include the following:

  • Sudden penetrating pain in the legs, lower back or abdomen
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea, resulting in dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Syncope (loss of consciousness and ability to stand)
  • Hypoglycemia (reduced level of blood glucose)
  • Confusion, psychosis, slurred speech
  • Severe lethargy
  • Hyponatremia
  • Hyperkalemia (elevated potassium level in the blood)
  • Hypercalcemia (elevated calcium level in the blood)
  • Convulsions
  • Fever

There is no cure for Addison’s disease, but steroid treatment can offer a viable method for achieving some degree of hormonal equilibrium.

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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.