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    Addison’s Disease

    Addison’s disease, or Hypoadrenocorticism, is a rare condition caused by insufficient levels of two crucial hormones produced by the adrenal glands, located near a dog’s kidneys. These hormones are vital for your dog’s well-being, and if left untreated, Addison’s disease can be life-threatening.


    What is a Addison’s disease?

    The two essential hormones are: 1. Glucocorticoids: These are natural steroids, such as cortisol, which help your dog respond to stress, enhance appetite, and support the immune system in fighting infections. 2.Mineralocorticoids: Including aldosterone, these regulate water and electrolytes in your dog’s body. ‘Atypical’ Addison’s disease is a less common form where only glucocorticoids are insufficient, potentially progressing to typical Addison’s over time. Addison’s disease primarily affects young to middle-aged female dogs, although it can occur in dogs of all ages and genders, including neutered animals. Certain breeds, like Standard Poodles, Bearded Collies, Great Danes, West Highland White, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, are more predisposed to the condition.Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, are more predisposed to the condition.

    What causes Addison’s disease in dogs?

    Most commonly, the disease results from the immune system damaging the adrenal glands, a condition known as immune-mediated disease. Occasionally, infections invading and killing adrenal gland tissues or cancer spreading to the adrenal glands can also cause Addison’s disease.

    Symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs

    Symptoms can develop gradually over months or rapidly over a few days. While signs can be nonspecific, a combination may indicate Addison’s disease. Common symptoms include reduced appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and shaking. Severe cases may lead to collapse and shock-like symptoms, known as an ‘Addisonian crisis,’ requiring immediate assistance from an emergency vet.

    How is Addison’s disease diagnosed?

    In most cases, a cat bite abscess is not considered an emergency, but it can be unpleasant and painful. If your cat appears in pain, is very lame, off its food, or seems unwell, it’s advisable to contact your local Animal Trust Surgery for advice and/or an appointment. While abscesses are usually not emergencies, seeking veterinary advice is crucial due to potential complications.

    Treatment for Addison’s disease

    Initial treatment involves hospitalization to correct dehydration and salt imbalances. Once stabilized, lifelong treatment with hormone replacement medication is necessary. This includes Zycortal injections given monthly under the skin to replace mineralocorticoids and Prednisolone tablets for daily glucocorticoid replacement.

    Managing Addison’s disease

    Lance and flush the abscess under sedation. Clip hair around the wound and flush it with saltwater if the abscess has burst. Prescribe pain relief and, if necessary, antibiotics. Most abscesses heal within 1-2 weeks, but some may require further treatment. Abscess wounds cannot be stitched closed, and dressings may be necessary for specific wounds.

    What is the prognosis?

    With proper treatment, dogs with Addison’s disease can lead long and happy lives. Treatment is generally successful and rewarding.

    Emergency conditions associated with Addison’s disease

    Contact your local Animal Trust surgery immediately if you notice signs of an Addisonian crisis or symptoms of gastric ulceration in your dog. Prompt veterinary attention is crucial in emergencies.

    Concerned About Your Dog? Act now!


    Animal Trust is a trading name of Animal Trust Vets CIC, a community interest company registered in England and Wales. Company Registration No: 07938025

    Registered Office: Animal Trust Administration Centre, Cedab Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FE