Addison’s disease is a disorder of the adrenal glands that causes low levels of important hormones. It affects both dogs and cats but is more common in dogs.
In dogs, the adrenal gland produces hormones that help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. When an animal has Addison’s disease, the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of these hormones. The result is a wide range of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and seizures.
How Addison’s Disease Affects Your Dog
The exact cause of Addison’s disease isn’t known, but it’s suspected that certain genes may be involved because it tends to run in families. Dogs with Addison’s disease have low levels of cortisol (a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex) or aldosterone (a hormone produced by the adrenal cortex).
If your dog has Addison’s disease, her body doesn’t make enough cortisol or aldosterone to meet its needs. As a result, she’ll have to deal with many different symptoms. Some dogs will only have one sign while others will have many different ones at once.