If the cycle of illness doesn’t stop, start looking for Addison’s disease.

You might recall a case where you couldn’t quite get to the bottom of problem, a dog repeatedly presenting over a period of weeks, months or even years; the owner describing a dog that wasn’t quite right, but with nothing drastically wrong. The dog might have responded to nonspecific therapy, such as intravenous fluids, and been discharged… but then returned to the practice weeks later exhibiting the same signs.

If you have ever found yourself treating the same dog over and over again, it might be time to look beyond the obvious.

What is Addison’s disease?

Addison’s disease is an endocrine disease that occurs when the adrenal glands produce insufficient corticosteroids, namely aldosterone and cortisol. These hormones are vital for maintaining blood volume and pressure, as well as helping the dog respond to stress.

When these hormones are deficient, the dog can develop a number of vague, chronic symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Shivering, tremors and muscle stiffness
  • Low body temperature
  • Low blood pressure

If Addison’s disease isn’t caught in time the hormonal imbalances suffered by the dog can eventually lead to hypovolemic shock and collapse, otherwise known as an Addisonian crisis. This can be potentially life-threatening, but with greater awareness of Addison’s disease it can be avoided.

How can it be treated?

While the diagnosis of Addison’s disease may be difficult, treatment does not have to be.

Dechra provides veterinarian once-a-month injection to replace the missing aldosterone. It contains desoxycorticosterone pivalate (DOCP) which acts in a similar way to aldosterone in the body.

Refer to the prescribing information for complete details here.

If you have any concerns about the health of your animal, please contact your veterinarian.