￼I just thought that I'd post this thread, since I did not see any info in the forum. As some of you know, my Shadow, was diagnosed with Addison's on June 8. He's back to his old self, which took a little over 1 month. Addison's, unfortunately, is not a very well known illness. Too often it gets misdiagnosed as Lyme disease, they have similar symptons. I'm just going to give a little info on the disease and my experience with it, and will update as I learn more.
Addison's Disease is also know as Hypoadrenocorticism. It is an insufficient production of adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland. These hormones are essential for life, which makes this a very serious disease. There are 3 forms of Addison's; primary (which Shadow has), secondary, and atypical.
Primary and atypical are usually the result of immune mediated damage to the glands. Seconday is from failure of the pituitary to stimulate the adrenals with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Here are some of the symptoms: vomitting, diarrhea, lethargy, depression, lack of appetite, tremors or shaking, muscle weakness, and pain in the hind quarters.
Shadow's symptons, in order, were: depression, lack of appetite, lethargy, vomitting, then muscle weakness. These appeared within a 3 day period, so they came very fast and hard.
When a vet suspects Addison's they will be looking at the dog's electrolyte levels. The two of the most concern are sodium and potassium, they will be looking at the levels and the ratio between them. The acceptable ratio level should be between 27 and 40. Shadow's ratio was 17.
The second test that needs to be done is the ACTH stimulation test. This tests the ability of the adrenal glands to produce the corticosteroid hormone cortisol.
Once the dog is diagnosed with Addison's there's some meds he can take. First he needs a med to replace the aldosterone, which maintains the electrolyte levels, this can either be an oral medicine call Florinef or and injectable one called Percorten (or DOCP). Shadow is currently getting injections of Percorten every 35 days. Dogs with Secondary or Atypical these medicines are not used since their electrolyte levels remain in balance.
The second medicine a dog would take is an oral form of Prednisone or hydrocortisone, Shadow's on 5mg of Prednisone daily.
Shadow is doing great on his meds, the vet hit the correct dosage and frequency right on the nose. He had his first injection visit on July 25th, and Dr. Werner is very impressed with Shadow's recovery. He stated that Shadow is his fastest recovery patient. I'm lucky to have a vet who is familiar with Addison's, it only took one visit for him to test for it.
Sorry this post got so long.
I am not a vet, just Shadow's dad, who wanted to share his experience of this disease. I don't know if it's allowed but here is a good website devoted to Addison's, and yes I did quote from it.