Home > Addison Disease in Dogs
What is Addison's Disease?

A deficiency in adrenocortical hormones (hypoadrenocorticism or adrenal insufficiency) is seen most commonly in young to middle-aged dogs and occasionally in horses. The cause of primary adrenocortical failure usually is not known, although most cases probably result from an autoimmune process. Other causes include destruction of the adrenal gland by granulomatous disease, metastatic tumor, hemorrhage, infarction, or overdose of mitotane (o,p′-DDD).

How to diagnosis?

Your veterinarian may use many symptoms from your dog's medical history to make the diagnosis. Addison's disease may have signs that overlap with many other diseases. For definitive diagnosis, evaluation of adrenal function is required. After obtaining a baseline blood sample, ACTH (gel or synthetic) is administered IM and a second blood sample obtained 1-2 hr later. Affected dogs have low baseline cortisol levels, and there is little response to ACTH administration in classic and atypical cases. This test can be completed in most animals before replacement hormone therapy is started.


You veterinarian may use different treatment regiments depending on the severity of Addisons'. Long term therapy may consist of or a combination of mineralocorticoid fludrocortisone acetate (Florinef ), prednisolone and/or desoxycorticosterone pivalate (Percorten-V).