What Are the Symptoms of Canine Addison's Disease?


Quick Answer

Canine Addison's disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, manifests with symptoms such as a lack of appetite, increased thirst and urine production, depression, and weakness, explains the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. A dog with Addison's disease may also experience vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs with Addison's disease may display sudden, severe symptoms or symptoms that occur intermittently with varying degrees of severity. Other symptoms of Addison's disease include blood in feces, alopecia, weight loss and a low temperature, reports PetMD.

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Full Answer

A dog with Addison's disease may be more prone to shaking and collapsing and may also experience a painful abdomen, explains PetMD. A veterinarian diagnoses the disease after performing tests such as a urinalysis or a serum biochemistry test. Veterinarians usually make a definitive diagnosis after determining the levels of cortisone in a dog's body.

Addison's disease is caused by a dog's adrenal glands producing a lower than normal amount of hormones, such as cortisol, notes the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. A dog needs these adrenal hormones to maintain a balance of salt, sugar and water within its body. The disease is most common in female canines, with the average age of onset being 4 years old. Stressful situations may cause symptoms of Addison's disease to appear or worsen because the dog is not able to produce the cortisol necessary to manage the stress.

Treatment for Addison's disease involves lifelong hormone injections, according to PetMD. If a dog experiences a severe, acute episode of Addison's disease, a veterinarian may recommend additional treatment including hospitalization, therapy and the administration of intravenous fluids.

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