Addison’s Disease: Low Dose Percorten

Daisy is a Standard Poodle that was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease.

Addison’s disease is when an animal’s adrenal glands stop secreting adequate amounts of steroids.  These steroids are the glucocorticoids that normally allow animals to respond to stressful situations and/or the mineralocorticoids that maintain normal fluid and electrolyte levels in the body. Addison’s usually occurs because a dog’s immune system has destroyed most of its functional adrenal tissue.

Blood chemistry panels, particularly those that include electrolytes, can help in the diagnosis of Addison’s disease. Sodium levels tend to be lower and potassium levels higher than normal with Addison’s disease, but other health conditions can produce similar results.

Addisons is known as “the great pretender.”  It can be easily  misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal disease, dehydration, kidney disease, pancreatitis, a ruptured bladder, or certain types of poisonings. The only way to definitively diagnose Addison’s disease is through an ACTH stimulation test.

Addison’s disease cannot be cured; however, the treatment is extremely rewarding as it can be effectively managed with drugs that replace a dog’s missing mineralocorticoids — either with a pill given once or twice a day, or with an injection (Percorten) given roughly once a month.   This is extremely expensive.  Some dogs also require prednisone either regularly or during times of stress.  Once a treatment protocol is in place and monitored appropriately most Addisonian dogs can go on to live long and happy lives.

To help with Daisy’s costs and to be sure she is getting just the dose she needs, we adopted Dr. Julia Bates low-dose Percorten protocol.  We have been able to decrease Daisy’s Percorten dose by over 50%.  Daisy is doing wonderful and her electrolytes are perfect.

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