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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,016
Registered: ‎03-28-2015

My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

I did not know that dogs can get this. Palermo is part Rottweiler...he was a rescue...

 

Anyone ever have to deal with this disease in their dog?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,693
Registered: ‎07-26-2014

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

The only think I know about that disease is that JFK had it.

"Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."


220-AuCC-US-CRM-Header-Update.gif

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,016
Registered: ‎03-28-2015

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?


@Mz iMac wrote:

The only think I know about that disease is that JFK had it.


That was my first thought too....

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,236
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

One of my Scotties was made Addisonian by a vet who was treating her Cushing's, he deliberately overdosed her to destroy her adrenal glands, and she had to be on Addison's medication for the rest of her life. 

 

The important things to know about Addison's is that there are two different hormones that the adrenal glands produce that must be replaced by medication, and both are vital for the dog to continue to live.  The first hormone is aldosterone, it regulates the balance of electrolytes in the dog's blood.  It is crucial to keep the ratio of sodium to potassium within the normal range or their heart will not beat properly, and they can die very quickly.  The second hormone to replace is cortisol.  Prednisone is the usual oral medication used to replace cortisol, but far too many vets prescribe a HUGE overdose, causing the dog to be ravenously hungry and thirsty, drink and pee constantly, pant heavily, and be very restless all the time.  The key with prednisone is to replace a natural level, not dose as an immunosuppressant, the "regular" veterinary use of the drug. 

 

There is one drug that can be used to replace both hormones, fludrocortisone, but what usually happens with it is that, to get good electrolyte balance you have to give so much that you are overdosing the cortisol part of the equation, so it is not usually the best choice for treating AD.  The more usual treatment involves two different meds, one that is injected into the muscle every 28 days that replaces aldosterone, and oral prednisone given by the owner every day.  The injectible drug (I believe there are currently two brands) has a recommended starting dose, and then bloodwork is analyzed every two weeks to "tweak" the dose to get it perfect for that individual dog.  The mid-cycle bloodwork, early on, usually shows the dose was too high, so you stretch it out a few extra days before giving another dose.  After a couple of months of bloodwork every two weeks, you start doing it one day before the next dose is due, to confirm the dog is indeed running out, then the next day, you give a shot.  After a few months of monthly bloodwork to make sure the dog is stable on a customized dose, you usually wind up doing bloodwork about every six months. 

 

Sadly, many vets are so "by the book" that they won't titrate the dose to get the desired effect in the electrolytes, uses high doses of prednisone to make the dog feel better, and the dog lives a much shorter life.  The owner has to become the  dog's health advocate, and may need to change vets to find one that actually knows how to treat Addison's properly.  Properly medicated dogs will live a normal lifespan, as long as medication is maintained.  My Scottie was turned Addisonian at age 7.5, and lived to be 12.5, a good, average age for her breed.  I hope your nephew can find a good, compassionate, knowledgable vet to help his dog live a normal, happy life!  Feel free to reach out to me any time if he has questions, I will help as best I can.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,195
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

my little dog bean, was diagnosed with addisons about 2 years ago. 

she get a pill every other day, and a monthly injection.  we have to try not to put her in situations that are too stressful for her. (not good for her) 

her pill is a type of predisone, so she is hungry alot. 

she has been doing great.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,016
Registered: ‎03-28-2015

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?


@CamilleP wrote:

One of my Scotties was made Addisonian by a vet who was treating her Cushing's, he deliberately overdosed her to destroy her adrenal glands, and she had to be on Addison's medication for the rest of her life. 

 

The important things to know about Addison's is that there are two different hormones that the adrenal glands produce that must be replaced by medication, and both are vital for the dog to continue to live.  The first hormone is aldosterone, it regulates the balance of electrolytes in the dog's blood.  It is crucial to keep the ratio of sodium to potassium within the normal range or their heart will not beat properly, and they can die very quickly.  The second hormone to replace is cortisol.  Prednisone is the usual oral medication used to replace cortisol, but far too many vets prescribe a HUGE overdose, causing the dog to be ravenously hungry and thirsty, drink and pee constantly, pant heavily, and be very restless all the time.  The key with prednisone is to replace a natural level, not dose as an immunosuppressant, the "regular" veterinary use of the drug. 

 

There is one drug that can be used to replace both hormones, fludrocortisone, but what usually happens with it is that, to get good electrolyte balance you have to give so much that you are overdosing the cortisol part of the equation, so it is not usually the best choice for treating AD.  The more usual treatment involves two different meds, one that is injected into the muscle every 28 days that replaces aldosterone, and oral prednisone given by the owner every day.  The injectible drug (I believe there are currently two brands) has a recommended starting dose, and then bloodwork is analyzed every two weeks to "tweak" the dose to get it perfect for that individual dog.  The mid-cycle bloodwork, early on, usually shows the dose was too high, so you stretch it out a few extra days before giving another dose.  After a couple of months of bloodwork every two weeks, you start doing it one day before the next dose is due, to confirm the dog is indeed running out, then the next day, you give a shot.  After a few months of monthly bloodwork to make sure the dog is stable on a customized dose, you usually wind up doing bloodwork about every six months. 

 

Sadly, many vets are so "by the book" that they won't titrate the dose to get the desired effect in the electrolytes, uses high doses of prednisone to make the dog feel better, and the dog lives a much shorter life.  The owner has to become the  dog's health advocate, and may need to change vets to find one that actually knows how to treat Addison's properly.  Properly medicated dogs will live a normal lifespan, as long as medication is maintained.  My Scottie was turned Addisonian at age 7.5, and lived to be 12.5, a good, average age for her breed.  I hope your nephew can find a good, compassionate, knowledgable vet to help his dog live a normal, happy life!  Feel free to reach out to me any time if he has questions, I will help as best I can.


Thank you so much!

Super Contributor
Posts: 462
Registered: ‎09-30-2012

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

I have had two westies (unrelated in any way) that had addisons.  They both lived to almost 15 years of age.  With the help of my vet, I found them both easy to manage.  I will say since they were both around 15 pounds I was able to maintain them on oral medication.  I know some vets recommend the percorten shots and I never tried them.  I decided that it made sense to me to give oral medication each day, twice a day and that their levels of medication would be the same at all times.   When my first westie was diagnosed percorten was not yet available.  I also want to mention that I found with both of my dogs that diet or high quality food was very helpful.  My vet wrote prescriptions for medications and I was able to get them through Goodrx.com much less expensive.  The blood tests from the vet are very necessary and No matter what I never missed them.  They were essential for maintaining levels to keep them from going into addisonian crisis.  I hope your nephew's vet guides him through this or recommends someone who can guide him.  

Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎09-14-2010

Re: My Nephew's dog has Addison's disease?

My dog Toby was diagnosed with Addisons when he was one year old.  After numerous tests and being very ill the vet said it was Addisons and he was put on prednisone.  About 3 years on I changed vets and my new vet did a full check up and said he could find no reason to believe he had Addisons.  He was taken off prednisone and was a different dog - playful, more energy and much happier.  I'm still not sure why this was diagnosed, maybe he just came through it.  Toby is now 14, slowing down but still happy and playful so I wish you're Nephew all the best on this journey.  

 

Btw JF Kennedy had Addisons.  Something I learned when Toby was ill.  I didn't even know what Addisons was.