Pet Focus: Pieper

Here we take a look at a condition called hypoadrenocorticism or ‘Addison’s’ disease.

Addison’s disease is caused by a lack of steroid production from the adrenal glands; it is not common but it is still important to be aware of the signs. Most affected dogs are young to middle aged, and it is more common in female dogs.

Symptoms of Addison’s Disease

Steroids play a very important role in many bodily functions therefore when there are insufficient amounts the clinical signs can be vague and varied, most of them related to alterations in sodium and potassium in the blood. Symptoms can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Inappetence
  • Weakness and shivering
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Drinking and urinating more

Pieper: A Case Study

Pieper is a 5yr old female West Highland White Terrier who was diagnosed with Addison’s disease in July 2016. She initially came in because she was limping, her foot was swollen and a grass seed was removed from between her toes. Pieper’s owner brought her back to us the next day because she seemed very unwell – she was shaking, off her food and vomiting frequently.

Following several blood tests she was then diagnosed with Addison’s disease. When we do see a case of Addison’s disease it is quite common for symptoms to appear after an apparently unrelated problem, this is because the steroids are required to help the body deal with stressful events, and so any stressful event can lead to what is called an Addisonian crisis.

Pieper’s Recovery

The good news is that after a stay at Pride Veterinary Centre and following treatment with intravenous fluids and steroid supplement, Pieper made a full recovery. She will need lifelong steroid medication and frequent blood tests but is currently living a normal life and enjoying every minute – as you can see from her photo!