Canine Addison's Disease is caused by the failure of the adrenal glands to produce cortisone and aldestorone. While the disease can be fatal it should not be considered an automatic death sentence. With the proper treatment, the dog can be expected to live a normal life.
Occurrence of Addison's Disease
Addison's occurs most often in young to middle aged dogs with a tendency towards females. Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs are suspected to have a genetic link to the disease.
Dogs with Addison's Disease may appear weak with a reduced appetite and pain in the hind quarters. Vomiting, diarrhoea and tremors are also common symptoms. In advanced stages the heart rate slows to the point death may occur.
Prognosis with Treatment
Hormone replacement therapy is the common treatment for dogs with Addison's Disease. According to the Web site ProVet.co.uk, the dogs receiving treatment can be expected to live between 2 and 7 years after diagnosis.
Prognosis without Treatment
Left untreated, Addison's Disease results in increases in the sodium level in the dog's blood and an increase in potassium. This slows the heart rate and drops the blood pressure, referred to as Addison's Crisis and leads to death. The length of time from diagnosis until death depends on the aggressiveness of the case and how early it is diagnosed.
Veterinarians have a variety of hormone replacement drugs at their disposal. Estimated costs for treatment vary with the cost of the hormone replacement drugs approximately £19 per month. Treatment will be required for the rest of the dog's life.