Pet Ronnie (3yr/ Male/ Labrador Retriever) referred from elsewhere, was brought in comatose stage with history of progressive detoriation along with elevated renal function values. On complete laboratory investigation the pet was diagnosed with addison disease. Pet has recovered and is normally functional on oral medication.
Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's disease) is often called the great pretender because it is usually presented with nondescript signs and symptoms. As a result it is many times misdiagnosed which can cause a delay in treatment and a life-threatening condition.
Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce the hormones that they are in charge of in the body. The most important hormones produced by the adrenal glands are steroids, particularly aldosterone and cortisol. These steroids play a large role in regulating dog’s internal organs and body systems. Without them, pet’s body deteriorates, leading to serious complications and even death.
An adrenal crisis is an acute medical emergency and requires the staff to work quickly in order for the patient to have the best chance of survival.
On presentation pets are usually depressed and at least mildly dehydrated. Their owners may report waxing and waning signs of anorexia, lethargy and occasional bouts of vomiting and urinary accidents in the house (or frequent urination). Because of this hypoadrenocorticism is frequently overlooked.
Pets that experience an acute onset of hypoadrenocorticism will often present with signs of hypovolemic shock: pale/tacky oral membranes, decreased capillary refill time, weak pulses, bradycardia, shaking, collapse, seizures or coma. These patients require emergency treatment in order for survival to occur.