Addison’s Disease in Dogs

Addison’s Disease in Dogs

How Does Addison’s Disease Affect Dogs?

Addison’s disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, is rare in canines, however when it does occur it often is seen in younger or middle-aged dogs and female dogs. It is also usually seen in Portuguese water dogs, Standard Poodles, Bearded Collies, West Highland white terriers, wheaten terriers and Rottweilers.

Glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids are hormones that are usually produced by the adrenal glands, which are near the kidneys. These hormones are vital to the healthy, proper functioning of the body—abnormal increases or decreases of these hormones will often lead to major health issues if they are not addressed in time. Hypoadrenocorticism is characterized by a deficient production of mineralocorticoids and/or glucocorticoids, which can cause various symptoms.

What Are the Causes of Addison’s Disease in Dogs?

• Metastatic tumors
• Long-term glucocorticoid withdrawal
• Adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency

What Are the Symptoms of Addison’s Disease in Dogs?

Depending on how long your dog has been affected by this problem, symptoms may vary—acute episodes of Addison’s disease may be life-threatening. Here is a list of the common symptoms:

• Loss of appetite
• Blood in stools
• Vomiting
• Weight loss
• Diarrhea
• Loss of hair
• Increased frequency of urination
• Lethargy
• Increased thirst
• Depression
• Dehydration
• Painful abdomen
• Low temperature
• Collapsing

How is Addison’s Disease Diagnosed?

To help diagnose hypoadrenocorticism, you will need to provide your vet with your dog’s symptoms and a thorough history of their health. A physical exam will be performed on the canine, which will include a complete blood count, routine laboratory tests, a biochemistry profile and urinalysis.

How is Addison’s Disease Treated?

A severe and sudden episode of hypoadrenocorticism is an emergency that will require immediate hospitalization and intensive therapy. Depending on the type and severity of the symptoms of this disease, treatment may vary. Dogs with low bodily fluids will be given intravenous fluids to replace their deficient fluid levels—the focus of therapy will be to replace deficient hormones. Dogs who do have Addison’s disease will have to be treated with hormone injections for the rest of their lives.


If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms or you have further questions about this condition, please contact us at 907-479-0001.