Dear Tabby,

Our dog was recently diagnosed with Addison’s disease. She is on medication and the disease is under control but we’re wondering if we could have avoided this illness or if we (inadvertently) caused it.

Worried About Diagnosis in Woodland Heights

Dear Worried About Diagnosis,

Addison’s disease is a disease of the adrenal glands that causes animals to insufficiently produce the steroids needed to regulate many of their functions. Addison’s disease can affect both dogs and cats and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Thankfully, though, with treatment, your dog is likely to have a normal lifespan and lead a happy, healthy life.

Causes of Addison’s disease

The cause of Addison’s disease is largely unknown and the disease can impact dogs of all breeds (as well as mixed breeds), but there are a few breeds that seem more at risk of developing the disease, such as Standard Poodles, West Highland White Terriers and Great Danes. Some vets feel as though Addison’s might be an autoimmune disorder. Additionally, the abrupt discontinuation of some medications (such as Prednisone) can sometimes cause Addison’s disease in animals.

Symptoms of Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is tricky to diagnose because the symptoms for the disease vary greatly and include some rather innocuous issues. Among the most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lethargy and hair loss. Often, a dog isn’t diagnosed with Addison’s until he or she has become quite ill.

Treatment of Addison’s disease

The good news is that Addison’s disease is treated with medication and dogs with this disease can often lead normal lives with average lifespans. Your dog will also need regular blood work at your vet’s office to be sure the medication is working properly.

I’m so happy your dog is on the mend and you have her Addison’s disease under control. While Addison’s can be a scary disease to diagnose and monitor, it is highly treatable and definitely not a death sentence. Thank you for taking such loving care of your pet and for seeking good medical care for her!

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby

Pet of the Week


Meet Sierra. After being hit by a car, Sierra was rescued and taken to the emergency vet. It was there, while being treated for her painful injuries, that vets discovered this sweet girl also has Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is easily managed with medication and Sierra will be able to live a normal, healthy life in her new home. Just look at those sad you have room in your heart (and home) for her? Go to to learn more.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.