Addisons Disease? Anyone with any experience of this? - Basset Hounds: Basset Hound Dog Forums
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Addisons Disease? Anyone with any experience of this?

Our new rescue dog has been unwell for a few weeks & looking back since we got her in early December, she's never been as energetic & full of life as our other dog who is exactly the same age (only two years). She's been like a little old lady. We thought this was due to her coming from an elderly couple's home where the owner had been very poorly(and has since died). However, gradually very subtle illness symptoms started. Shaking, lethargic and upset tummy, getting tired. Then two weeks ago she went completely off her food & water. Even chicken and sausages were turned down. No eating & drinking at all.

Initially at the vets she tested positive for Campylobactor which they treated. However when things didn't improve we all thought there was more to it. She's been staying up at the vets on a drip and she perks up wonderfully after a few days but then but goes straight back downhill again. It's been a very stressful few weeks,

However finally today the vet rang (she's been in there for a couple of days again) and said they are pretty positive its Addisons disease. The vet was very upbeat about it and said that if it is, it's very treatable, she'll be on meds always but should be fine, livelier and happier with the proper care. They are running a few more tests to completely confirm it but to be honest we're just hopeful we finally get a diagnosis which we can work with. It's been such a worry not knowing.

So therefore I was just wondering if anyone had had an experience or knowledge of this illness. Providing the ongoing meds and care would not be a problem for us as long as she is better. She's such a sweet girl and has settled into our home like she's always been here. Her and our existing Basset are very fond of each other too.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Molly's in for her ACTH test

Molly's Rough Day
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry to read this but this link may help give you more information (I've not read it through)
Properly Diagnosing Addison’s Disease and Your Dog’s Treatment Options - Whole Dog Journal Article
The good news is hopefully now you have a diagnosis because having been there with one of mine throuh her final 6 months, I know how terrible it can be not to get anything other than 'inconclusive' with your hound deteriorating by the day, to say nothing of what's happening with a Bank account

My good thoughts are with you.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about this. Yeah like Mikey posted my pal McFrecks has it and I'll give her a heads up. Maybe u can get connected. She's terrific and I think McFrecks had it as a puppy.
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Old 02-26-2013, 11:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info and links. It's helpful to see what its about. At least we'll hopefully have a confirmed diagnosis & not be in the dark. It's the not knowing what is wrong with her that has been torture. We've all felt so helpless. Should hear tomorrow with the definite confirmation but due to one blood result the vet is pretty sure. Looking forward to having my little girl back soon. My male Basset can't understand where his wife keeps disappearing off to & thinks she may have another fella!
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Results are in and she definitely has Addisons Disease. It's strange but I'm kind of relieved. At least we know what we are looking at and the vet says it will be very manageable and all her symptoms are due to it. Finally see some light at the end of the tunnel hopefully!!!
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi there. I am the proud mom of Molly, whom Mikey T linked to in his post. My Molly was diagnosed with Addison's at 10 months old and had many of the same symptoms your little girl has (what is her name, by the way?). The scariest part is trying to find a diagnosis, trust me. My vet called it the "great pretender" because its symptoms are so similar to other illnesses. We thought Molly was blocked and did xray after xray. She was a puppy and ate EVERYTHING, so it was plausible. Nothing showed and she kept getting worse. I called the vet frantic one morning and she asked me to drop Molly off for observation and ran and Addison's test that day. Steroids and such, Molly was home the next day and on the mend.

Yes, the good news is that you know and it wasn't diagnosed with the dog being comatose and in really bad shape. Good for you for following your instincts, as that is key to having and Addison's dog. Also good news is that this is HIGHLY controllable. Molly started with daily prednisone and a monthly shot of percorten-v. There is another drug that can be used in the place of percorten, called florinef, I think. It's an oral drug. I opted for percorten.

Initially, Molly went in for her monthly shot and blood work (checking electrolytes) until she was regulated. At 6 months from the diagnosis, she went in for her ACTH stimulation test (they do this to check for Addison's at diagnosis, I believe). Here they stimulate her body to simulate stress and test to see how she responds with the level of meds she is on. Then they can adjust them until she is getting the proper dosage. Meds are trial and error initially. We were spot on the first time around. I began doing the shots at home and she was going in every 2-3 months for blood work at that point. After a little over a year, we weaned her off prednisone and she went to a 6 month rotation with blood work. Percorten is still given every 28 days. She is doing fantastic. She is back to running and playing and being a normal dog. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the fact that she is Addisonian. FYI, Molly is 2 1/2 years old now and there is every indication that she will have a normal lifespan and be fine as long as her disease is regulated.

The biggest problem I've faced in the 2 years since diagnosis: WEIGHT GAIN!!! Prednisone is evil that way. Like people, dogs gain weight from it. Do what you can to keep food and treats healthy. No table scraps!! Exercise is important once she is better and more energetic.

Another problem: learning her fears and what can trigger a crisis. This is all about getting to know your dog. I was walking on eggshells for the first 6 months or so. I thought everything would send her into crisis. I realized I was more fearful than she was. That said, learn what scares or stresses your dog and minimize exposure to that. When there is an unavoidable stressful situation (boarding, traveling long distances), I put her on pred the day before and wean her off it after it's over. You must work with your vet to understand how to do this. She must be weaned off pred, you cannot just stop giving it. Once you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake.

Lastly, pred makes dogs drink A LOT. As such, there will be potty accidents and lots of trips outside. It stinks, but have patience and don't get angry. It sneaks up on them sometimes. This happened as I was housebreaking Molly and it made it a very long process.

My blog link is in my signature and I was documenting her Addison's for a bit, but I fell out of doing it. Feel free to look through and let me know if you have any questions at all. I am happy to help.

Good luck and I am glad you have some sort of an answer, even if it is this.

Michelle
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Molly McFreckles' World:
The adventures of a Basset Hound living with Addison's Disease and a baby brother named Winston
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I certainly don't want to say that I am glad that it is Addisons, but I am happy that you got a diagnosis that is completely treatable and will let her have a good life.

I would suggest making good friends with Molly, she knows the drill and can be a great resource and support for you going thru this.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I share that sense of relief with the diagnosis. I remember feeling happy to finally know what was going on and begin to treat her appropriately. I kind of felt guilty for it, but it was better than watching my sick dog get sicker. Addison's, as bad as it is, was a relief.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the post. It's good to hear Molly is doing so well. Our dog is called Speckles. As you say the relief at finally getting to the bottom of it all is great. Although she's got this its something I have the time and patience to work with and I'm prepared for it being a bit of a learning curve to begin with.

We have a very good local vet who knows us very well due to our two geriatric cats and other Basset. Our other Basset Harry had to have his tail amputated at 20 weeks old due to a fast growing malignant Sarcoma growth. That was two years ago and he is fine now (although with no tail) so we've dealt with the vets quite a bit.

Thanks for the tips about what to expect, we've got wooden floors so any mishaps won't be too bad. It's great to hear from someone with the same dog breed & dealing with the same medical problem. I'll keep you posted on how we are doing & may be in contact to ask any advice but hopefully Speckles will be feeling better soon. She's had a rough time of it what with her owner dying at Christmas, being rehomed and then being poorly. However on the rehoming front she has fitted right in, feels very at home and loves Harry Basset. We have known her since a puppy as her original owner was a lady in our local Basset Hound walking club so maybe it's helped she knew us & Harry before she came to live here. But will watch out for stress etc.


Again many thanks, Sarah
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