Canine Addison's Disease (CAD) is one of those diseases that can be easily confused with many other diseases. As a result, it can often go undiagnosed until the dog collapses from lack of energy, dehydration from vomiting or significant weight loss. If left untreated, it can even be fatal.
CAD is a result of a dog's adrenal glands not producing enough hormones or the other necessary chemicals that regulate metabolism, blood pressure or response to stress. It's speculated that the cause is most likely genetic, though other possible causes include disorders to the immune system, infections or trauma.
The majority of dogs that acquire CAD tend to be female and, on average, over the age of 4. It's also been found that certain breeds seem to get CAD more than others, including Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Rottweilers and terriers like the West Highland White and Wheaten.
Signs that your dog might have CAD
The symptoms associated with CAD are often mistaken for other conditions. However, diagnostic testing like the ACTH stimulation test can provide very accurate and reliable results.
Here are some of the symptoms that you need to look for:
Blood in vomit or stool
Excessive thirst or urination
Loss of appetite
Shaking and tremors
Lethargy, overall lack of energy
Please note that some of these symptoms may come and go. But if your dog displays any of these symptoms, take her to a vet immediately for an examination.