Meet Zoe, the 6-year-old Standard Poodle. This usually-happy pooch was a bit quieter than usual and looked like she’d lost some weight. She’d also had a few episodes of unexplained vomiting and diarrhoea.

A veterinary examination and some blood and urine tests revealed that Zoe had an endocrine condition known as Addison’s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism. This condition tends to sneak up on pets and can sometimes be challenging to diagnose, as it often mimics other conditions. 

The disease results in mineralocorticoid secretion from the adrenal glands and a reduction in corticosteroid. A deficiency in both these hormones can produce a wide range of often vague symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Dehydration and weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking
  • Weight loss and lack of appetite

Patients will often present in an acute crisis and need critical care to save their life. Thankfully Zoe was diagnosed before she became very unwell.

After a patient is stabilised, treatment involves daily medication as well as regular blood tests to ensure electrolyte levels are kept in check. Some animals will need additional medication during more stressful times, such as car trips. There is also an injection available that can be given every 25-28 days and many dogs respond well to this.

Addison’s disease is a perfect example of why regular check-ups with us are essential. The earlier we can diagnose a disease, the better, as we may be able to prevent your pet from becoming severely unwell.

If you notice any changes in your pet (as subtle as you may think they are), it’s always a good idea to discuss them with us. Routine blood tests may be all that is needed to rule out disease and put your mind at ease.