Dear Daisy Dog
My dog has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease. What can you tell me about it?
Addison’s disease, also called hypoadrenocorticism, is underproduction (hypo) by the adrenal gland (adreno) of corticosteroid hormones (corticism).
It occurs most frequently in young female dogs of any breed, but black standard poodles are especially predisposed. As an older white standard poodle, I am not at high risk.
Corticosteroid hormone deficiency causes intermittent lethargy, weakness, poor appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea, particularly during stressful times.
Because signs like these are seen with a number of disorders, Addison’s is hard to diagnose.
If the disease progresses untreated, heart rate may slow to the point that the dog may collapse.
Addisonian dogs must be given replacement hormones for life, with higher doses often needed during times of stress. Once the correct diagnosis is made and treatment begins, the prognosis is excellent.