What is Addison’s Disease in Dogs?
Addison’s disease is an endocrine or hormonal disorder in dogs that affects their adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for the release of important hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone, and aldosterone, a hormone that helps regulate levels of potassium and sodium in the body.
Addison’s disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism because the adrenals release too-low levels of these hormones. Too-high levels of cortisol and aldosterone are caused by the opposite condition – hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease.
Addison’s commonly affects young to middle-aged dogs, more females than males, and the average age of onset is four years old. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Bearded Collies, and Portuguese Water Dogs have a higher genetic predisposition for the disease.
What causes Addison’s Disease in Dogs?
Addison’s is mostly caused by an autoimmune response, which means that your dog’s immune system can attack the adrenal glands and cause disease. In some cases, infection and trauma can result in Addison’s, and adrenal gland tumors can significantly affect the way that the adrenal glands function.
Pet owners should be wary of Addison’s when it comes to certain medications. If your dog has Cushing’s disease, your vet may prescribe an oral medication known as trilostane or Vetoryl. Careful monitoring is necessary to ensure that your dog does not overdose.
If he takes too much trilostane, his adrenal glands may become suppressed which results in clinical signs for Addison’s disease. Abrupt cessation of an oral steroid like prednisone can also cause signs of Addison’s, although this condition is only temporary.
Symptoms of Addison’s Disease in dogs
Addison’s can be tricky to diagnose because there are a wide variety of symptoms, and these signs can wax and wane over time. Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and increased urination are the most common signs. Because of his gastrointestinal upset, your dog may have a poor appetite.
He will slowly lose weight and his muscles will start to atrophy or shrivel, resulting in an underweight body condition score. He may have a slow heart rate and a weak pulse. Addison’s patients tend to have very dry, brittle hair coats and develop moderate to severe dehydration.
How is it diagnosed?
If your dog has any of the above clinical signs, make sure to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away. She may recommend several different tests in order to rule out other underlying causes for your dog’s illness.
Routine blood work might show low amounts of sodium and high amounts of potassium because there is not enough aldosterone to prevent sodium from being excreted from the body. Blood values associated with the kidneys tend to be elevated, and white blood cells will be elevated if there is an infection. Anemia is also common, which means that the red blood cell count will be low.
With your dog’s clinical history and lab findings, your vet will recommend a special blood test known as the ACTH stimulation test. A blood sample is taken from your dog before a synthetic hormone known as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is administered.
About an hour later, another blood sample is taken. In a healthy dog, the administration of ACTH will cause the adrenal glands to release cortisol into the bloodstream. Dogs with Addison’s disease will have little to no response to the ACTH, and so their cortisol levels will remain low.
Imaging can also help diagnose Addison’s disease. The adrenal glands may be difficult to evaluate with x-rays because the glands are very small. Ultrasound is useful because it can locate the adrenal glands and look for the presence of tumors or overall size changes. Advanced imaging like CT and MRI can help rule out tumors in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
Treating Addison’s Disease in dogs
Dogs who are acutely ill may require hospital care such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and steroid therapy. Once confirmatory test results are received, your vet will go over long-term treatment.
Two kinds of steroids are necessary for dogs with Addison’s disease: mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid, and this is supplemented in the form of a long-acting injection known as desoxycorticosterone pivalate or DOCP. It is injected by your veterinarian every three to four weeks depending on your dog’s overall response to it.
Cortisol, which is a glucocorticoid, is supplemented by administering oral prednisone once a day. Because it is a low dose, your dog won’t have any of the side effects commonly associated with steroid administration such as increased thirst and urination and increased appetite.
Once treatment is initiated, your dog will need to be rechecked after the first ten days and then again one month later. His blood values will need to be checked to make sure that his sodium and potassium go back to normal. As his hormone values stabilize, your dog will gain weight, have a healthier coat, and his other clinical signs will resolve.
There is no cure for Addison’s disease, but with regular monitoring and treatment, your dog can live a normal life. Dogs who undergo treatment for Addison’s disease usually have a good to excellent prognosis. If the underlying cause is related to a tumor, your dog will require further care and may need to see a specialist for further treatment options.
Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease? [Fully Explained]
Advocates of CBD oil claim that it can help with a myriad of medical conditions, including Addison’s disease. But is there any truth behind these claims, or are they exaggerated?
While there is little research on CBD oil for Addison’s disease, there is a chance that it could help. However, it also has the potential to aggravate some symptoms, so it is necessary to exercise caution.
Here’s how CBD could influence Addison’s disease, along with the potential benefits and risks.
What Is Addison’s Disease?
Addison’s disease is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands. It is also sometimes known as primary adrenal insufficiency.
The adrenals are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are responsible for secreting various hormones, including cortisol and aldosterone.
Cortisol is probably best known as a stress hormone. However, it also has many vital functions within the body. They include:
- Regulating blood pressure and blood glucose
- Controlling metabolism
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing alertness
Aldosterone’s primary role is maintaining the balance of water and electrolytes. It ensures that the body’s sodium and potassium levels remain healthy, and plays a role in blood pressure control.
In patients with Addison’s disease, the adrenal glands become damaged and stop releasing these two hormones. This is a potentially dangerous situation and causes a variety of symptoms.
Addison’s Disease Symptoms
The main symptoms of Addison’s disease include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Muscle weakness
- Mood changes (depression or irritability)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Cravings for salty food
In severe cases, Addison’s disease can also cause low blood pressure, which may lead to fainting. Furthermore, some patients may develop dark patches on their skin, lips, or gums.
People with Addison’s disease are also at risk of a condition called an adrenal crisis or Addisonian crisis. The symptoms of an adrenal crisis include:
- Severe dehydration
- Pale, cold, clammy skin
- Sudden pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Severe drowsiness
An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. It requires immediate treatment, so patients with Addison’s disease should familiarize themselves with these symptoms and act fast if they occur.
What Causes Addison’s Disease?
Addison’s disease usually occurs due to an underlying autoimmune disorder. This means that the immune system becomes dysfunctional and starts attacking healthy tissue. In the case of Addison’s disease, the immune system attacks the outer layer of the adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex.
Nobody knows precisely what causes autoimmune disorders. However, scientists agree that a combination of environmental and genetic factors probably play a role.
Addison’s disease is more likely to occur in people who have another autoimmune disorder. It often occurs alongside an underactive thyroid or type 1 diabetes. The condition is most prevalent in women and usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50.
In some cases, Addison’s disease may be the result of an infection like tuberculosis or HIV. However, this is uncommon in economically developed countries.
Conventional Addison’s Disease Treatments (Not CBD)
With the correct treatment, people with Addison’s disease can live a long and fulfilling life.
However, they will need to take medication to replace the hormones that their adrenal glands cannot produce. These include corticosteroids like hydrocortisone or prednisolone to replace cortisol. Meanwhile, a drug called fludrocortisone can help to replace aldosterone.
It is essential to take these medicines at the right time every day to keep the body functioning effectively. Patients may need to increase their dosage in times of physical stress. For example, during an illness or before an operation. Doing this reduces the risk of adrenal crisis.
Although natural remedies like CBD cannot reverse Addison’s disease, they may help to manage certain symptoms. However, there are also some precautions to be aware of when using CBD for any chronic illness. Here’s all you need to know.
Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease?
With more people now turning to CBD, it is essential to understand how it might impact Addison’s disease.
Sadly, there is currently no research specifically on CBD and Addison’s disease. However, there have been some studies on how CBD affects autoimmune disorders in general.
One such study came out in 2008, in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology. It investigated the impact of CBD on immune function, with exciting results. It found that CBD suppressed immune function, potentially making it viable as a treatment for autoimmune conditions.
Other studies have found that CBD and marijuana may have positive effects on type 1 diabetes and thyroid function, respectively.
There is also research suggesting that the body’s endocannabinoid system has a significant influence over the endocrine system. This includes the pancreas, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. Since the endocannabinoid system is where CBD exerts many of its actions, it could have some beneficial effects.
However, it is crucial to note that most of the studies involved animals or cell lines in a laboratory. Until more research emerges, there is no proof that human studies would have the same positive results.
Using CBD Oil for Addison’s Disease: Benefits and Risks
The potential benefits of CBD oil for Addison’s disease include its positive effects on the immune and endocrine systems. However, patients must weigh these benefits carefully against the risks before deciding to proceed.
Although most experts consider CBD to be safe, it can cause side effects in some people. These side effects include:
- Weight loss
Since these are issues that already affect people with Addison’s disease, there is a chance CBD could make them worse. There is also a risk that CBD could interact with other medications due to the way the liver processes the compound.
However, CBD might help with certain other Addison’s disease symptoms, such as mood disorders, muscle cramps, and nausea. There are also anecdotal reports that people who take CBD oil feel an increased sense of general wellbeing.
Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether the benefits of CBD oil for Addison’s disease outweigh its risks. Therefore, anyone wishing to try it should consult their physician first and make a decision based on their individual needs.
Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease? Final Thoughts
The question of whether CBD oil can help Addison’s disease does not have a straightforward answer. On the one hand, it could help by suppressing the immune system to slow down damage to the adrenal glands. It may also help to regulate hormonal release through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
However, CBD can have side effects, and some are similar to the symptoms of Addison’s disease. Therefore, there is a chance that people could take CBD oil and end up feeling worse.
Until more research on CBD oil for Addison’s disease comes to light, we can only guess at its precise effects. We hope we can provide a more definitive answer soon. Until then, find a knowledgeable doctor to discuss the benefits and risks of CBD oil for Addison’s disease, and follow their advice.