Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison’s Disease, is caused by lower than normal production of steroids (glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids) from the adrenal glands. These adrenal hormones are necessary to control electrolyte function and water balance in the body. This condition occurs most commonly in young to middle-aged female dogs.
The most common signs of Addison’s Disease include increased water intake, increase urination, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, and lethargy. These signs may occur suddenly or intermittently with varying levels of severity.
Addison’s Disease is diagnosed by bloodwork, often noting a low blood sodium and high blood potassium level, with potentially other abnormalities due to dehydration from clinical signs. In severe cases patients may need to be hospitalized for IV fluid therapy, injectable medications and close monitoring until stabilized.
Addison’s Disease can be managed long term with injections and/or oral medications, and close monitoring by your veterinarian. With appropriate treatment these pets can live a long and happy life.