Canine Addison’s Disease

Canine  Addison’s is a disease of the adrenal glands located above the kidneys and medically known as Hypoadrenocorticism.  It is the failure to produce cortisol required to maintain normal body functions.  With proper diagnosis and continued treatment a dog can live an active and normal life.  Untreated it can be fatal.   Addison’s disease occurs less commonly than Cushing’s disease, the overproduction of cortisol.

While symptoms can be the same as for many other diseases they do include low heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tremors, lack of energy, depression, low temperature, and muscle weakness.   It appears more common in female dogs of medium age (4 to 7 years), but is found in other genders and ages.  If your dog is showing these symptoms you should visit your vet and ask about Addison’s.  Symptoms may not appear until the adrenal cortex is almost non-functioning, and only by proper testing for the disease can a correct diagnosis be made and proper treatment applied.

Addison’s can be treated at home but may require an immediate treatment of intravenous fluids to replace deficiencies followed by long term care of medication, a daily pill or monthly shot, to replace cortisol and neutralize the effects of potassium on the heart.  Dogs with Addison’s should be kept as stress free as possible.

For more information please visit:

Addison Dogs at  Information and support group.

Petmd Hypoadrencorticism at

Written by Ron Lueth, Pet Guardian Angels of America  This work may be shared through the Creative Common License only if attributed to Pet Guardian Angels of America at