Addison's Disease

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

Addison's Disease

Postby JeepinDog » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:55 pm

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.


www.addisondogs.com
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Postby Misskiwi67 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:45 am

That was an excellent post. :peace:

Its always nice to see quality information and firsthand experiences. I'm glad to hear your pup is doing well with his treatment, and I hope you have many good years together!
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Postby JeepinDog » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:07 am

Thank you very much.

He has a strong will, and will be around for a long time.
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Postby PineysMom » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:09 am

Thank you, JeepinDog. I learn so much here.
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Postby JeepinDog » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:17 pm

Just trying to bring attention to this disease. They still don't know what causes it.
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Postby T-rabbit » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:35 pm

WOW! Great info to know. I live where ticks are very bad so I am sure dogs get misdiagnosed a lot here. Thanks for the info. :bowdown:
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Postby suzi » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:07 pm

Thank you so much for sharing.
Good to hear your furface is on the mend.
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Postby lalanian6 » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:47 pm

Amazing post, very informative. Thanks for the heads up. Hope I never need to know the info, but ill know it if I do. Thanks again, and Good Luck!!!!
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Postby JeepinDog » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:27 am

Ok, it's been a while since I posted this thread. I just wanted to update on some behavioral changes that occured with Shadow, and what I hear from other A-dog owners their's are similar.

The first change that I noticed was Shadow's "drive" and energy level reduced. He used to do zoomies almost daily, but hasn't had any since he got sick in June. Before June, I used to run him around my backyard, by throwing a tennis ball and kicking a soccor ball, for about 1/2 hour. Now, you throw the ball and he may run after it for about 10 feet and stop, just not interested anymore. The only thing that gets him to run around in the backyard is chasing squirrels, rabbits, and other little critters.

Stress is also a large factor with A-dogs, it can affect them 4 times as much as a healthy dog. I go 4 wheeling quite often and always bring him. Occasionally I do 3 or 4 day wheeling trip, in the past he loved it and when we got home he'd be knocked out for a day and then be bouncing off the walls again. Now, when we do 2 day trips, he's tired all week, and by the end of the 2nd day starts getting loose stools (which is a sign that his electrolytes are out of normal level).

I try to excercise him as much as possible, but I must keep a close eye on his behavior and know when it's time stop before it's too late. Usually it's hiking around the mountains or through the woods at a local resevoir. Even though his body is telling him to slow down, he doesn't listen and just wants to keep going. He does have his good and bad days, one day we can go 5+ miles the next time, which could be a week later depending on how he is, he might not be able to go 1 mile.

The week leading up to Shadow receiving his Percorten shot, I try not to excercise him. I've learned that if his body is recovering from stress the week of the injection, he starts going into potassium shock. Usually this means the initial symptoms of Addison's come back, starting with explosive diarrhea.

On a good note, Shadow is doing great. He still loves going 4 wheeling and going for our hikes. The vet is very proud of him, and said that as long as I keep up on his medication and watch his behavior he'll be around for a long time.
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Postby TexasGlock23 » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:52 am

aww you do have a heart. Just kidding, good to hear he is comming around. What normal dog wouldnt love 4wheelin? Get a Chevy, he will love ya for that
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Postby JeepinDog » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:11 am

TexasGlock23 wrote:aww you do have a heart.


Shhh, don't let it get around. :secret:
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Postby Tortiebaby » Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:05 am

Funny, I have ferrets that I have to be careful with so they don't get Adrenal disease(too MUCH adrenal, cause from too much light) and now I have to be careful with my puppy so he doesn't get addison's disease(to LITTLE adrenal).

Well, it's not really funny, but I do think it is interesting. :D
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Postby JeepinDog » Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:33 pm

Well, you can't do anything to prevent your puppy from getting Addison's. Unfortunately, they don't know what causes it and there's no cure for it.
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Postby ZiggysMom » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:51 pm

Great post! You really did your homework! Great to see people looking these things up and educating themselves.
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Postby SadiesHuman » Mon May 28, 2007 10:22 pm

I can sympathize with your troubles and this disease. My grandmothers rotty has addisons and was diagnosed when she was about 6 months old, she's not going on 7 years old. She has her little quirks and takes more meds than someone in a mental institution, but she's doing really well. :-)

Thanks for the informative post!!
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