What are the symptoms of Addison's disease in canines?


Quick Answer

Common symptoms of Addison's disease in canines include lack of appetite and weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting, according to PetMD. Other symptoms to look out for are dehydration, hair loss, blood in feces, depression and shaking. Dogs with Addison's disease may also exhibit low temperature, weak pulse, increased thirst and increased urination.

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Full Answer

Addison's disease, also called hypoadrenocorticism, is a disease of the adrenal gland, notes PetEducation.com. The disease involves a lowered level of corticosteroid secretion in the adrenal glands, which are close to the dog's kidneys. These glands are responsible for regulating normal body functions, which is why the disease causes many physical symptoms. Addison's disease is sometimes confused with Cushing's disease, which also occurs in the adrenal gland. However, Cushing's disease causes too much of the hormones in the glands instead of too little.

Addison's disease in canines is diagnosed with the ACTH stimulation test, says PetEducation.com. This is a blood test that looks for varying levels of hormones in the adrenal glands. Other tests used to diagnose the disease include a blood count test and chemistry profile test. The vet is looking for a decrease in blood glucose and an increase of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen in the blood. If Addison's disease is confirmed, treatment includes replacing the glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids that are missing from the dog's adrenal glands. This is accomplished with medication given twice a day.

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