Addison's Disease and Your Dog or Cat - Trupanion - The Trupanion Blog
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Addison’s Disease and Your Dog or Cat – Trupanion

The Great Dane is one of the dog breeds more prone to Addison’s disease.

Addison’s disease is located above the kidneys in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands affect the endocrine system and when the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones it prohibits the body from functioning properly. The adrenal glands emit glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids and when the correct amounts are not produced the animals metabolic and electrolyte balance can be disrupted. The production of Mineralocorticoid can also be interrupted creating an imbalance of sodium and potassium in the body. Addison’s disease can be genetically transferred or autoimmune related but all of the causes are not yet known.

Addison’s is commonly found in young to middle aged female dogs. Dogs can be affected in their puppy years or even when they are 12 years old.  The average age they are affected is 4.

Effects of this disease include:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Treatment: An oral replacement (tablets) of salts and cortisones that are not being produced by the adrenal glands can be taken as a supplement. If it is an emergency situation the drugs can be administered into a vein. Dogs diagnosed with this disease need significant attention in order to check for gastrointestinal habits, lethargy, etc., and to make sure the disease is monitored.

Dogs most commonly affected by this disease:

  • Great Danes
  • Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Standard Poodles
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Bearded Collies
  • Rottweiler
  • Springer Spaniels
  • German Shorthaired Pointers
  • German Shepherd
  • St. Bernard
  • Leonbergers
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers



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