In short, it is a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol resulting in weight loss, fatigue, anemia and other symptoms. It is a very rare but treatable condition.
Addison's Disease is named after Thomas Addison, who first described this illness. The true lesion is primary adrenal insufficiency, or poor output from the adrenal gland, a gland that produces cortisol.
When first described, it's most common cause was destruction of the adrenal cortex by tuberculosis. Today, though, it is caused most frequently by autoimmune adrenalitis.
The prevalence of this disease in Western countries is estimated at 35 to 60 per million. Common symptoms of the disease include chronic malaise, lethargy, generalized weakness, anorexia (lack of desire to eat), and weight loss. A variety of other symptoms, including salt craving, also exist but these are the most common.
Lethargic Great Dane
In severe cases, patients may present in Addisonian crisis (adrenal crisis) which is marked by severe hypotension and electrolyte abnormalities (sodium and potassium in particular). Treatment is with synthetic steroids e.g. dexamethasone or hydrocortisone.
If you take your dog to the vets as soon as possible with even symptoms such as:
Lethargy, Can’t jump up on the couch as normal, and no appetite
Signs are often vague at best and most owners that are close to their pets know immediately something is wrong, but they just don’t know what. Get your dog to the vets immediately and work well with the vet. There is treatment and it is successful, and, if caught in time your dog can lead a normal life.
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