When does Addison’s disease start in dogs? What to Know

Symptoms of Addison’s Disease in Dogs

Addison’s disease can be hard to detect by signs alone. Most commonly, Addisons disease is diagnosed as an accidental finding when annual blood work is performed and your vet finds an electrolyte imbalances. Your veterinarian may become suspicious if your dog has waxing and waning signs of lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Approximately 30% of dogs with Addison’s disease are diagnosed after experiencing an Addisonian crisis. An Addisonian crisis occurs when a dog collapses in shock from the inability to adapt to external or internal stressors. This can lead to severely elevated potassium levels, which can cause abnormal heart rhythms and a very slow heart rate. Addison’s disease can also cause severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).

An Addisonian crisis can only occur when about 90% of the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland) is not functioning. This crisis can be fatal if shock is not treated quickly, aggressively, and appropriately.

What is Addison’s disease?

Addisons disease is the common name for hypoadrenocorticism, caused by decreased hormone production from the outer part or cortex of the adrenal gland.

What are the symptoms of Addison’s Disease in dogs?

Like many conditions, symptoms of Addisons Disease in dogs can be vague and common to many other conditions. Typical symptoms of Addisons Disease include those listed below. Its important for pet parents to note that these symptoms may come and go, and vary in intensity.

  • Lack of energy
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Bloody stools
  • Shaking
  • Weak pulse
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Painful abdomen
  • Hair loss
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Symptoms of Addisons Disease can present suddenly and be extremely severe. When this happens it is known as an Addisonian crisis. Signs of an Addisonian crisis include life-threatening symptoms such as shock and collapse. If your dog experiences these symptoms immediate veterinary care is required!

    All you need to know about Addison’s disease in dogs!

    Often caused by an underlying autoimmune condition, Addisons Disease is a hormonal disorder seen in dogs that is characterized by a low hormone output by your pups adrenal glands. Here our Seattle verts explain more about this serious condition and how Addisons Disease in dogs can be treated.