Canine Addison’s Disease 101Canine Addison’s Disease is a malfunction of the adrenal glands in your pup. The adrenal glands are located near your dog’s kidneys and produce hormones responsible for handling stress and regulating salt, water, and sugar levels in his body. When your dog’s adrenal glands stop producing enough of these hormones, he could be in big trouble. How does this happen? Sometimes Addison’s behaves like an autoimmune disease and attacks the body incorrectly, which causes the adrenal glands to stop working right. Other times it’s a result of metastatic or growing tumors, hemorrhage, infarction (loss of blood flow to the heart), or total destruction of the adrenal gland. There are 2 types of Addison’s that are caused by malfunction of either the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland:
- Primary Adrenocortical Failure happens when the adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormone aldosterone. This causes your pup’s sodium, potassium, and chloride levels to decrease.
- Secondary hypoadrenocorticism happens when the pituitary gland fails to stimulate the adrenal gland to produce the correct amount of cortisol and aldosterone hormones your dog needs.
Who Does Addison’s Disease Affect?
While Addison’s generally affects dogs who are young to middle-aged, it can occur at any age. It’s also more common in young female dogs than in males. Certain breeds are more susceptible to Addison's Disease than others, but it can develop in any breed. The most common breeds at risk include:
- Standard Poodles are at risk for Addison's Disease"Full attention" by Tim Wilson from Blaine, MN, USA Rottweilers
- Bearded Collies
- Great Danes
- West Highland White Terriers
- Standard Poodles
- Portuguese Water Dogs
SymptomsWe’ve all had to deal with our dog throwing up or having diarrhea, and we’ve seen our pups overheat and pant until they’re at ease. All too often we don’t realize that something more serious may be going on. Addison’s mimics ailments such as kidney disease, poisoning, viruses, and allergic reactions. And therein lies the problem. Since Addison’s Disease looks like a myriad of other disorders, it’s often hard to distinguish non-threatening symptoms with more worrisome ones. Because Addison's causes your dog’s body fluid levels to be off, you may notice these symptoms after intense exercising or hot weather, but they may also come on suddenly without warning. Great Danes are another large breed susceptible to Addison's Symptoms of Addison’s include:
- Muscle weakness