Q: My dog has Addison’s disease. What can you tell me about it?
A: A lot! My own dog, the late, great Quora, developed Addison’s (aka hyperadrenocorticism) when she was 11 years old. She began slowing down, shivering even when it didn’t seem cold, and although she had a voracious appetite, she wasn’t that wild about her food. The symptoms finally clicked for me, and I had her hormone levels tested. Once we put her on medication, it was like she had been plugged into a charger and was back up to 100 percent.
Addison’s develops when the adrenal glands stop secreting enough cortisol and other steroids. We don’t know why it occurs.
The problem with Addison’s is that signs vary widely from dog to dog and are often similar to those of other diseases. That can make it really difficult to diagnose. Until it’s recognized and treated, the adrenal glands become less and less functional, eventually causing the dog to collapse suddenlyÂ â what’s known as an Addisonian crisis. Once they are diagnosed and begin treatment, though, they can do well.
Treatment involves daily oral hormone replacement for several weeks to get the dog back on track. Then, depending on how your dog responds, your veterinarian can adjust the dose. It’s a disease that must be managed for the rest of the dog’s life with glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid supplementation, regular checkups and bloodwork to confirm that the dog is receiving an appropriate level of supplementation.
The important thing to know is that stress can cause flare-ups. Consult a Fear Free-certified veterinarian to help you develop techniques to reduce fear, anxiety and stress if your dog needs to be boarded, will be traveling with you or requires surgery or other veterinary care that might be stressful.Â â Dr. Marty Becker, veterinarian
â˘Â German shepherd dogs Ziva and Zeus of Medical Lake, Washington, snuck out a hole in the fence and during their adventure became trapped in an abandoned missile silo. Twenty-one days later, their owner, Jessica Donges, still searching for them, re-explored the silo area and heard barking. There were her dogs, stuck in a hole filled with water. Unable to remove them, Donges called for help, and minutes later the emaciated dogs were free. Now they are on their way to a full recovery, not to mention becoming recipients of Nationwide’s Hambone Award, which earned the Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center in Spokane $10,000 to be used to treat pets in their community whose owners could not otherwise afford treatment.
â˘ Putting your dog or cat in a carrier instead of letting him ride loose in your car will help keep him safe in the event of an accident, but knowing where to place it and how to keep it in place are important as well. Place soft-sided carriers for cats and small dogs in the footwell behind the passenger seat. Instead of restraining carriers by running the seatbelt through the top handle or around the carrier, use strength-rated anchor strapping to tie it down. Place pets in separate carriers to prevent injury if one is thrown against the other during an accident.
â˘Â With his black coat and brilliant gold or copper eyes, the Bombay is the classic Halloween cat and a friendly family companion 24/7. Easygoing yet curious, he’s been known to enjoy walking on-leash and playing fetch, but he’s also fond of sitting in a lap. This is an attention-loving cat, so be sure you have time to devote to him daily and won’t mind a cat who, er, dogs your footsteps. Bombays have a short coat that needs weekly brushing.
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and journalist Kim Campbell Thornton of Vetstreet.com. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Send pet questions to askpetconnection@gmail.