Addison ’s Disease in Dogs

Addison’s disease in dogs is a lack of adrenal control and can be characterized by signs such as lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, trembling, and trembling. Here are some tips to help identify Addison’s disease in your dog:

What are the Symptoms of Addison’s disease?

Addison’s disease is particularly rare in cats and fairly uncommon in dogs. It is mostly diagnosed in young to middle-aged female dogs. However, the disorder has been identified in dogs and cats of all ages. 

In general, signs of Addison’s disease tend to manifest rapidly, usually within a few days. However, they may also develop within weeks or months.

Most owners notice that their pet develops several problems at about the same time. These problems include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness

Other less common observations include: 

  • Intermittent weakness or loss of appetite. 
  • Shivering, trembling or shaking. 
  • Fainting or beginning to develop a shock-like condition.


In order to properly diagnose your dog with Addison’s disease, your veterinarian will perform the following:

    • Review: signs and medical history of the condition
    • Blood and Urine Test: Checks the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, metabolism and electrolyte balance

  • ACTH Stimulation Test: Test the adrenal glands. It is one of the main methods used to treat Addison and involves at least one day of hospitalization. Your doctor should prescribe a dose of ACTH, the hormone responsible for the release of corticosteroids when a dog is under stress. A healthy animal would have elevated cortisol levels in response to ACTH, whereas a dog with Addison will have none.

What Treatments are Available for Addison’s disease?

Dogs with Addison who are seriously dehydrated may need to be hospitalized for immediate care and stabilization. If stabilized, dogs may need long-term (life-long) hormone replacement therapy to replace missing mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. These drugs are given at home in the form of tablets and injections.
Routine blood tests are recommended to monitor the condition, and the amount of medication may need to be adjusted over time. If the dogs are depressed (e.g. due to going to boarding kennels, or because of some illness) a Vet might instruct you to administer additional steroid therapy.

If you want to ask a question about this or any other disease, please comment down below. We’ll be happy to help you and your canine companion.

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