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Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) Research

What is Addison's Disease?

   The adrenal glands produce corticosteriod hormones like cortisol and aldosterone.  There are 3 forms of Addison's:  primary, secondary, and atypical.  In the primary condition, the disease is a result of immune-mediated damage to the glands.  Secondary is when the pituitary fails to stimulate the adrenals with a hormone called the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ATCH). There are nuances of difference between the types, but the following generalizes the condition.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, tremors or shaking, muscle weakness, and pain in the hind quarters.

How is Addison's Diagnosed?

Diagnosis often involves measuring electrolyte levels, especially of sodium and potassium, including notice of the ratio of the two.  Along with electrolyte measurements, an ACTH stimulation test is performed.  This test measures the amount of cortisol produced.

The typical age range for diagnosis of Addison's is 6-10 years with the average being 7 years and under.  The health condition, once diagnosed, is treated with medications of mineral corticoids or gulcocorticoids.  Treatment by medication will occur for the rest of the dog's life.


If you have an Addison's Airedale, we need your dog's blood sample!  Please click on the following link to find information on how to send your dog's blood sample in for research:

How to Submit A Blood SampleHow to Submit A Blood Sample 

Additional articles on Addison's in Canines:

-Addison's Disease in Your Dog - Treating Hypoadrenocorticism, By Dr. Ron Hines, DVM, PhD

This is a good article describing symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of canines with hypoadrenocorticism. 




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