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Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's Disease) in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Optimal treatment requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. It is very important that all medication be administered exactly as prescribed by your veterinarian. It is also important that you observe your dog very closely and report any abnormalities to your veterinarian promptly. Although certain symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may be seen on occasion in a normal, healthy dog, it is best to report them when the dog has a history of hypoadrenocorticism.

Avoid and/or prepare for any situation that might cause physical or emotional stress to your animal. This includes strenuous exercise, marked changes in your dog's routine or environment, and surgery. If such situations cannot be avoided, your veterinarian may recommend adjustments in your dog's treatment regime to help him cope with any upcoming stress.

It is important to keep regularly scheduled veterinary visits for examination and blood electrolyte monitoring. Initially these visits occur every 2 to 3 weeks, with adjustments made to medications as indicated by the test results. Gradually the recheck visits are decreased to every 3 to 4 months, and eventually to every 6 months in the stable patient. If your dog is on injectable DOCP, veterinary visits are necessary every 3 to 4 weeks so that the injection can be administered.

Most dogs with hypoadrenocorticism have an excellent prognosis after proper stabilization and treatment.

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