Let's start with a brief overview of Addison's disease. It is the common name for hypoadrenocorticism, or adrenal insufficiency. It is a disease with symptoms that are common in many other ailments, making diagnosis difficult and sometimes a process of elimination. But once Addison's is correctly diagnosed, a properly treated dog can live a normal active life.Adrenal Gland Shown on Dog's Back
The adrenal, one on each kidney, is made up of two layers, the cortex and the medulla. The outer area, or cortex, secretes corticosteriod hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. The medulla, part of the sympathetic nervous system, secretes epinephrine (adrenaline), which is generally not affected by Addison's.
There are three forms of Addison's disease: primary, secondary and atypical. Primary and atypical Addison's are usually the result of immune mediated damage to the glands. Secondary hypoadrenocorticism is from failure of the pituitary to stimulate the adrenals with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). It is important for you to know which type of Addison's disease your dog is being treated for.
Often, achieving success requires a shift in perspective in how our pets interact with us. Much misinformation currently exists in the world, specifically regarding dog behavior.
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