If the cycle of illness doesn’t stop, start looking for Addison’s disease.

You might recall a case where you couldn’t quite get to the bottom of problem, a dog repeatedly presenting over a period of weeks, months or even years; the owner describing a dog that wasn’t quite right, but with nothing drastically wrong. The dog might have responded to nonspecific therapy, such as intravenous fluids, and been discharged… but then returned to the practice weeks later exhibiting the same signs.

If you have ever found yourself treating the same dog over and over again, it might be time to look beyond the obvious.

What is Addison’s disease?

Addison’s disease is an endocrine disease that occurs when the adrenal glands produce insufficient corticosteroids, namely aldosterone and cortisol. These hormones are vital for maintaining blood volume and pressure, as well as helping the dog respond to stress.

When these hormones are deficient, the dog can develop a number of vague, chronic symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Shivering, tremors and muscle stiffness
  • Low body temperature
  • Low blood pressure

If Addison’s disease isn’t caught in time the hormonal imbalances suffered by the dog can eventually lead to hypovolemic shock and collapse, otherwise known as an Addisonian crisis. This can be potentially life-threatening, but with greater awareness of Addison’s disease it can be avoided.

How can it be treated?

While the diagnosis of Addison’s disease may be difficult, treatment does not have to be. ZYCORTAL® Suspension is a once-a-month injection to replace the missing aldosterone. It contains desoxycorticosterone pivalate (DOCP) which acts in a similar way to aldosterone in the body.

ZYCORTAL Suspension is labelled for subcutaneous injection, has a three year shelf life from the date of manufacture, and can be purchased from your preferred distributor.

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In field studies the most common side effects reported were polyuria, polydipsia, depression/lethargy, inappropriate urination, alopecia, decreased appetite/anorexia, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking/trembling, polyphagia, urinary tract infection, urinary tract incontinence and restlessness. ZYCORTAL Suspension should be used with caution in dogs with congestive heart disease, edema, severe renal disease or primary hepatic failure. Dogs presenting in Addisonian crisis must be rehydrated with appropriate intravenous therapy before starting treatment with ZYCORTAL suspension.  Refer to the prescribing information for complete details here.

 

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