Thursday 7 March 2013

What Is Addison's Disease in dogs

 What Is Addison's Disease in dogs

Addison's Disease is a deficiency of cortisol (a glucocorticoid) and/or aldosterone (a mineralocorticoid). The deficiency can be caused by faulty brain (pituitary) signals to the adrenal glands or by faulty adrenal glands. Cortisol and aldosterone deficiencies cause the levels of sodium and potassium to be abnormal.

symptoms and diagnosis
Pets with Addison's disease show a variety of vague symptoms that come and go. Many are weak and lethargic. They vomit and have diarrhea. Their hair falls out and they lose weight. Their heart beats more slowly than normal. Some dogs drink excessively and urinate excessively (PUPD). 

Symptoms of Addison's disease come and go. For example, a pet will vomit one day and be fine the next. Or, a pet will be lethargic for a week and be fine the next week. 

Weakness & shaking
Weight loss
Excessive drinking & urinating
Difficulty with stairs

Addison's disease in dogs and cats is an extremely difficult disease to diagnose because the symptoms resemble those of many other diseases. For example, excessive drinking and urinating commonly resembles diabetes. Anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea resemble gastrointestinal diseases and parasitic infections. In addition, the symptoms come and go making it difficult to pinpoint what is happening. 

To further complicate the difficulty of accurately diagnosing Addison's disease, about 5% of pets with Addison's disease will have other endocrine diseases at the same time.

Treatment Options for Pets with Addison's Disease

If your pet has a sudden, severe onset of Addison's disease, it is a medical emergency. Your pet will likely receive IV fluids and short-acting cortisol, such as dexamethasone. If your pet has a more chronic incidence of Addison's disease, it will be prescribed daily glucocorticoids, such as Prednisolone, and/or mineralocorticoids, such as Fludrocortisone. Or, some pets can be treated with Percorten-V (DOCP or Desoxycorticosterone Pivalate) injections every 3-4 weeks.

These pet medications are necessary to treat Addison's disease in both dogs and cats. Higher doses of these pet medications are used when your pet is ill, stressed, or scheduled for surgery.

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