Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) in Dogs

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Addison’s disease in dogs is likewise referred to as hypoadrenocorticism. It is a disease that results from the decrease in corticosteroid secretion from the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is a small gland located near the kidney that produces several different compounds that help manage normal body functions. Some of the most important products that it secretes are called glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. There is another disease called Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) that takes place when the adrenal gland produces excessive of these hormones. Addison’s disease is not as typical as Cushing’s disease, but it still occurs with regular frequency in the dog population. It is challenging to acknowledge initially, but once it is diagnosed, it can be successfully treated.

Addison’s Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) in Dogs

Glucocorticoids and Mineralocorticoids

The adrenal gland produces both glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Glucocorticoids such as cortisol have an impact on sugar, fat, and protein metabolic process. They are partially responsible for the response called battle or flight reaction during demanding periods. Mineralocorticoids such as aldosterone have an influence on the electrolytes sodium and potassium in the body. They help control these electrolytes particularly in demanding circumstances. When the adrenal glands do not function adequately, these hormonal agents are not produced at sufficient levels and the metabolism and electrolyte balance of the animal create the symptoms and complications of Addison’s disease.

Who gets Addison’s disease and what are the symptoms?

Addison’s is primarily a disease of young to middle-aged female dogs, nevertheless, a dog of any age and either sex can establish the disease. It does not appear to be more typical in any one specific type. Felines can develop this disease, but it is incredibly uncommon. The symptoms of Addison’s disease are very vague and lots of animals might have symptoms for a long time before the disease is detected. Some of the more common symptoms include lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, and muscle weakness. The symptoms might wax and wane, further making complex the medical diagnosis. The other presentation for this disease is an episode called an ‘Addisonian crisis.’ In this circumstance, the animal collapses in a state of shock due to an imbalance of electrolytes and metabolic process during a period of stress. This episode might be the first time the owner believes disease and may be deadly, if not dealt with without delay.

What causes the adrenal glands to stop producing corticoids?

There are several different factors the adrenal glands may fail. By far, the most common is destruction of the glands by the body. This procedure where the body attacks and kills its own tissue is known as ‘immune mediated damage.’ Other causes can be infections in the gland from granulomatous diseases such as histoplasmosis or blastomycosis, or through other ways such as infarcts, growths, or amyloidosis of the gland. Another cause of Addison’s can be the failure of the pituitary gland to secrete ACTH, which is a hormone that promotes the adrenal gland to work. The hypothalamus can likewise stop producing CRH, which is a hormonal agent that manages the adrenal gland. Failure of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is typically an outcome of a tumor, swelling, or injury.

How is hypoadrenocorticism identified?

Diagnosis is of Addison’s disease in dogs is verified by a blood test called the ACTH stimulation test. However, because the disease is not typical and has a wide range of symptoms, the ACTH test is generally done after a number of other tests are used to eliminate more common illness.

If the animal enters into the health center in an Addisonian crisis with electrolyte imbalances, and reacts to therapy, then a presumptive diagnosis of Addison’s disease is made and as soon as the animal recovers, the medical diagnosis can be validated with an ACTH stimulation test.

If however, the animal provides with a history of weight loss, lethargy, or muscle weakness, which are the symptoms of lots of illness, a chemistry profile and blood count are generally carried out first to take a look at a variety of body systems. Dogs with Addison’s disease often have elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and an elevated creatinine, in addition to reduced blood sugar. The blood count might reveal a chronic anemia. If the blood work supports the diagnosis of Addison’s diseaes, then an ACTH difficulty test is performed.

In an ACTH obstacle test, the dog is provided an injection of the adrenal stimulating hormonal agent ACTH. A normal dog will react by having an increase in blood cortisol. If a dog with Addison’s disease is offered ACTH, the dog will not have a boost in blood cortisol and the diagnosis of Addison’s disease is verified.

How is Addison’s disease treated?

As soon as the disease is detected, the treatment is fairly straightforward. The standard treatment involves replacing the mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids in the body. The drugs most frequently used to accomplish this are Florinef (fludrocortisone). Florinef is normally given twice a day. At first, the blood salt and potassium levels are monitored to assist acquire the right dose. After the animal is regulated, then the levels are reconsidered 2 to 3 times a year and changes in dosing are made as required.

A more recent choice in the treatment of Addison’s disease is a drug called DOCP. The injection is long acting and only has to be given once every 25 days. DOCP has been intensively tested and been revealed to supply much better electrolyte regulation than Florinef. Some animals on DOCP may also need to be placed on a low maintenance dose of prednisone.

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