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Signs Your Dog Is Having an Addisonian Crisis

 by petbucket on 22 May 2015 |
19 Comment(s)
An Addisonian crisis is the result of undiagnosed Addison's disease in dogs. If your dog does not get immediate medical attention, she could die from multiple organ failure. The hardest part about Addison's disease is knowing your pet has it. Signs are subtle, and it takes an attentive dog owner to see the changes. Once diagnosed, Addison's disease is easily managed at a reasonable cost. Here are some tell-tale signs that your dog could be having an Addisonian crisis.
 
What is Addison's Disease?
 
Addison's disease is a genetic disorder where your dog's adrenal glands no longer produce the hormones necessary to deal with stress. The disease mostly affects female dogs, and it does not present symptoms until about the age of five.
 
Taking long walks, new dogs in the house, people moving in and out and a change of environment are all triggers for your dog's stress. Normally, your dog's adrenal glands excrete glucocorticoids to deal with the stress. In addition to glucocorticoids, the adrenal glands also release mineralocorticoids to balance electrolytes.  When these steroids aren't excreted during stress, your dog is unable to handle it, electrolytes become imbalanced, and your dog's heart and kidneys cease to function. The result is a tragedy, but you can avoid it by rushing your dog to an emergency vet who can stabilize your pet.
 
Signs of a Crisis
 
To identify symptoms, you must know your dog's behavior. Even veterinarians tell you that Addison's disease is an extremely difficult disorder to diagnose unless the vet knows to take blood work. First, your dog will probably be more lethargic. If your dog normally follows you around the house, she will probably stop and lay there as you move around.
 
Next, your dog will lose its appetite and show signs of anorexia. She might try to eat, but as soon as she eats, she will vomit it up.  Diarrhea is also a problem. Between the diarrhea and vomiting, the dog becomes dangerously dehydrated.
 
If you sleep with your dog, another noticeable sign is the shakes. The dog will shake as if she's cold or sick. She might try to sleep close to you for warmth, but she shakes and wakes you up.
 
What might throw dog owners off is that the dog will still drink water regularly. She will even walk regularly. Although, when she walks she won't want to go far distances and might even sit down. Your dog's behavior will be overall lethargic regardless of the activity.
 
If any of these symptoms are present with your dog, it's imperative that you immediately take the dog to a vet. If it's night time, find an emergency vet in your area. Dogs going through an Addisonian crisis will collapse fast, so it's important to act quickly.
 
Treating Addison's Disease
 
If you get your dog to the vet quickly, the vet will give the dog fluids, medication and stabilize her. Depending on how critical the condition, the dog could have sodium and potassium imbalances, a heart murmur and malfunctioning kidneys.
 
After your dog is stabilized, you can usually take her home after a couple of days. Your dog will be dependent on two medications: Prednisone and Percorten. Your dog will take daily doses of Prednisone. The dosage is determined by your vet. Percorten shots are given every month. Percorten is the more expensive treatment, but you can buy the bottle for about $200 and have the vet give your dog a shot for about $10 each visit. The Percorten bottle will last several months for a small dog. Prednisone is much cheaper. The Prednisone bottle costs about $15 each month.
 
A small dog will only need about 1.5mg of Prednisone each day. However, you'll need to double that dosage when you anticipate stressful times for the dog. For instance, if you take the dog to the vet, travel with her, introduce a new dog or have visitors, you need to double her dosage.
 
Prognosis for a treated dog with Addison's disease is very promising. As long as you get the dog to the vet during crisis symptoms, your dog will recover. Knowing your dog is key to identifying any further episodes, but with proper medication and treatment, your dog will live a long, happy life.
 

Comment(s)19

Christine Martin - Comment
Christine Martin31 May 2015Reply
Hi, I was lucky my Vet suspected Addison's my dog a male lived for another 5 years he was 6 years old when we found out.

I Australia it is very much cheaper to get the VET to write a prescription for the tablets and get it from the chemist.
julie uchtmann - Comment
julie uchtmann25 Jul 2017Reply
My 2 year old Dachshund was just diagnosed this past week. By the time the hospital made this discovery,( we went through an Ortho and Neuro Surgeon) she was in crisis She spent 3 days in ICU and was sent home stable. Within 16 hours she had started shaking again, and was losing control of her back legs. I took her back to the hospital and they checked her labs, which had improved and I picked her up later that day. After only been home a couple of hours, her back end started swaying again, and she just didn't look well. I don't know what to do! She is on 5 different meds and i have already spent $5k. Why isnt she getting better? Does this take time, i.e weeks. I'm at a total loss as to what my next steps should be.
angelique - Comment
angelique25 Jul 2017Reply
Hi Julie, My dog is a Dachshund mix. She had an episode a couple months ago and almost died. It took my dog about a week to be back to her normal self. She walked very slowly for several days after her first shot. She is back to normal, though I noticed her personality has mellowed out a little bit since this happened, and the meds have caused weight gain due to increased hunger and thirst.. My dog's vet says her kidney numbers still aren't back to normal though and the event may have had effects on her kidneys. I hope your dog gets better soon!
Alicia  - Comment
Alicia 25 Jul 2017Reply
Hi Julie, I have a Chiweenie, diagnosed at 4 years old, he's 5 now. If your dog has addison's disease, theres no "getting better" sorry to say. It is an incurable disease, but managable. My pup takes 1/4 of 5mg of prednisolone every other day and .4ml of percorten v injecttion every 25 days, that will be for the remainder of his life. He spent a week in ICU when he had a crisis. To diagnose addison's disease the vet needs to do a blood test, and check your dogs electrolyte balance. If she is on 5 different meds, what are they for? Hope this was helpful. Addison's absolutely sucks, you are always at a constant worry, every time your dog shakes you think something is wrong. But if you love your dog and give them the help they need, they will live a happy life and love you back.
Anna - Comment
Anna01 Oct 2017Reply
I had a Chihuahua/ Jack Russell he was on 4 yrs old & stopped eating, barking,every thing but drinking. Then we went to bed & woke up and he could no longer walk or sit up. I took it to my vet. Who kept him over night and still didn't respond to the meds. She advised me that my dog was very sick and even if he was on all the proper meds he could still relapse. I seen how sick my dog was and as much as it killed me I had to put him to sleep. I cry & miss him every minute as he was my side kick. But I couldn't let him suffer. Even he knew how sick he was. I pray for you all and your furbabies. But please don't let them suffer. And this disease can run into a very expensive illness. Please put your animal ahead of your own feelings. They feel miserable too. Hugs to all.
Kat - Comment
Kat06 Dec 2017Reply
Addison's is a sad disease and it's imperative that you tune into your animal friend. I have had the lovely opportunity of knowing a beautiful German Short-haired pointer who was diagnosed around 2 or 3 with Addison's. Her human parent passed away and their son, my BF, adopted her at 8 1/2 years old and she very quickly she slipped into a very grave Addisonian crisis episode. She survived and over the last 5 years I have helped care for her and came to love her as my own. Amazingly she lived to 13.5 and finally we had to put her down a few days ago. My advise is to learn and understand everything about their behavior and this disease, so as to avoid losing them before their time is up. Zoey lived a good life in spite of it all. She will be missed.
Samantha - Comment
Samantha06 Dec 2017Reply
I have a German short hair pointer that has just been diagnosed as of last week! She was in crisis mode and in ICU for 3 days. She's home now and started her first month of prednisone pills. She lost 10 pounds during her crisis and is verge anerxic. When your pointer went through crisis modes did they lose weight? And if so how long did it take for them to start gaining back?? Im just worried cause my poor baby just doesnt quite have a full appetite yet and doesn't seem to be putting much of her weight back on :(
Debbie Lockyer  - Comment
Debbie Lockyer 04 Jan 2018Reply
A very sad disease and very hard to reckonise, tonight I have had to put my 4year old pomapoo to sleep as she was so poorly.
lja - Comment
lja04 Jan 2018Reply
so sorry for your loss 🙏🏻
AMY - Comment
AMY21 Feb 2018Reply
My German Short haired pointer Grand Dog is 5 and a month and half ago he went into Addison crisis, he was barely alive by the time we got him to the Emergency clinic. I'm happy to say he pulled through but he has lost a lot of weight he doesn't eat he doesn't want to drink water and the vet is not helping us cope with this is it normal?
Cheryl - Comment
Cheryl21 Feb 2018Reply
Maybe the vet should be prescribing anti-nausea medicine if he doesn't want food and water? Is your dog on a steroid and percorten? The steroid should make your dog hungry and thirsty.

One of my spaniel/point/plott hound mix dogs was diagnosed last year after going into Addisonian Crisis. Was in ER for 5 days. Lost 20 pounds. Fur was falling out, was losing control of legs. Wouldn't eat or drink anything. She was 4 when diagnosed.

My other dog, her sister, is starting to slide too. Had issues with diarrhea last month. Took antibiotics and probiotics and that righted the issue, but she continued to be lethargic. Also, she was getting dehydrated because she had no interest in drinking water. A few days ago she started vomiting. Can't hold food down and has no interest in anything other than sleep. We've been to the vet every morning for the past 3 days. Finally today they admitted her and I asked for the Addison tests to be run again. They ran them last month and one came back low normal and the ACTH came back normal.

Maybe the vet needs to check your dog's electrolyte levels again? If he is on a steroid and on percorten, maybe the dosage isn't right?

I do remember that when my first dog was diagnosed, she had zero interest in her old food. We found that Newman's Own Organic beef canned food was of interest to her and she would eat that heartily. But we had to start with baby food first. We also had to try a few types of canned foods before we found one she would tolerate. She was on the canned food for about two weeks before we started to slowly introduce her old kibble and FreshPet back into her diet.

Panmela A Cady - Comment
Panmela A Cady21 Feb 2018Reply
aTypical addison's , didnt show up on any test, but for sure acted like it, started after my window cleaners came when I was at work and I am sure she went nuts. could this have triggered and episode
is this more common in shorthaired pointers? mine is !/2 Pit and Pointer
I just as a last resort shoved a prednisone in her mouth and an hour later she was out of crisis??? everyone is confused
Kelly - Comment
Kelly24 Feb 2018Reply
My sweet boy , Scottie is in the ER at the vet in a crisis as we speak!!! He was lethargic, weak, vomiting, dehydrated. I called the vet and took him.in right away. As he lay on the exam table they came.in and.did a.stool sample, a few.minutes later as my husband is holding him, he thought our boy had diarreaha bit as he looked it was pure bright red blood! They admitted him right away but told us he may not make.it! He had his percorten shot yesterday and today hes in a crisis. Im so heartbroken. This boy is just like my child. Anyone else gone through this and have your dog actually pull through??!!
Joanne - Comment
Joanne24 Feb 2018Reply
We have had our standard poodle to the vet twice before the vet suspected Addison's. He had the bloody stool, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, hair loss and shaking. She suspected Addison's the second time and treated him with an IV, a couple of shots. Sent us home with shots and more IV fluid along with an antibiotic to be administered and he started perking up after 48 hours. He is a tougher case as when he was 11 months old he was diagnosed with Hemolytic Immunosuppresive Disorder and had to be hospitalized and transfused. This threw a wrench in everything because it is an autoimmune disorder. She now thinks he was misdiagnosed by the other vet and that it was probably the onset of Addisons. He is doing much better today, Saturday and she started treating him as having an Addisoniian crisis on Tuesday. So hang tough, it sucks, but it takes a bit of time and patience.
Veronica - Comment
Veronica27 Feb 2018Reply
My standard poodle, was diagnosed with Addison diease, she is only 13mos old, she seemed fine, all of a sudden, she start laying around, shaking, then she stopped eating. The vet took blood and temp, temp low, blood work came back abmormal. He said then it looks like Addison diease. She stayed overnight, given fluids, and steroids, and started eating a little. She's home now, she have been put on a shot once a month, sent home with steroids by month. Antibiotics. Her energy have picked up a little more, I hope everyone be ok . I think God she was caught early. It was no diarrhea, no vomiting, I'm nervous about leaving her alone. Keep looking up.
Maria - Comment
Maria04 Mar 2018Reply
My puppy a havapoo started to vomit on a Friday then I noticed he did eat or drink that Saturday. Took him to the vet and he said he had a virus. Sunday he still wasn’t eating and only drinking if I forced him Monday I took him back to the vet saw a different one she Suspected Addison disease but had to sent him to the hospital They didn’t think it was that told us it didn’t look good he was in kidney failure thank God my vet was in contact with them and demanded that they ran test for Addison. Overnight stay at hospital put on iv which corrected the kidney failure. Went to my vet and he’s was out on Prednisones at this time doesn’t need the shots. That was about three weeks ago still concerned as he his not quite the same puppy as before. He is eating and drinking but not as playful as before he doesn’t play with his toys hasn’t greeted us like in the past yesterday we had a bad storm with lots of wind and rain notice that he was shaking a lot and he throw up I had just started to decrease his med so I went back to dosage before. I am always looking up about this disease. So worried that it might happen again. Puppy will be two this month.
Cindy  - Comment
Cindy 11 Mar 2018Reply
My 17.5 year old Bostion Terrier, we know had Addison Disease. Based off of her symptoms and chemisty work up. After reading all the post here and how much she could endure with this disease. We made the decision to put her to sleep. It has been so hard, I hurt every minute since we did it on yesterday, but we could not have her suffer any longer. She spend one night in the ER and the next monring we decided to let her go to doggy heaven. Its been so hard. This disease will turn your loved four legged furry child into someone you do not know. Good luck to all who is having to deal with this dreaded disease. God Bless!
Marcus Spiller - Comment
Marcus Spiller16 Mar 2018Reply
We had a 5-year old Maltese and I noticed Tuesday that he wasn’t himself, very lethargic, no appetite, shakes, diarrhea and vomiting. Called the Vet Wednesday morning and they advised to feed him some chicken breast and broth. He ate very little, but dranked water. Was planning to take him to visit the vet if wasn’t better Thursday morning, but he passed Wednesday night. Emergency ER stabilized him for a little, but then he succumbed.. Devastated!!
lja - Comment
lja16 Mar 2018Reply
how very sad. 🙏🏻
Patty Smith  - Comment
Patty Smith 14 Apr 2018Reply
Our standard poodle was diagnosed several years ago. He was stabilized and put on florinef pills, which he is still on. 3 in the am and 3 at pm. He is presently 5yo and doing great. Don't give up. We get blood drawn once a year, or anytime we feel there may be a problem. So far so good, I won't change to the injections d/t the problems I read about.
Jennifer Donini  - Comment
Jennifer Donini 05 May 2018Reply
My 4 yr old pit was diagnosed yesterday with Addison’s. I just brought him home and he is still acting very lethargic and not himself. I have a feeling I’m going to be worried a lot. It sounds like a lot of varying stories about the long term.
Dana Forrest - Comment
Dana Forrest14 May 2018Reply
I just lost my 3 year old pug, Charlie, to Addisons yesterday morning. My heart hurts. The crisis. was acute and came on so fast. He started with vomiting on Wednesday, we took him to the vet, assumed some type of stomach bug. Thursday was diarhea with blood so we were back at the vet who put him on stronger meds. By Thirsday.afternoon he went into full crisis, we went to the ER,. he was in shock, got a.secondary sepsis infection,. and eventually died 2 days (and $9k) later due to a blood clot caused.by rhe sepsis (they think). The only comfort I have is the my family was their.visiting 30.minites.before.he.passed.and.the.vet said it was really quick. She was petting him. and then his heart just stopped. As I learn more about this.terrible disease, I realised the ER docs were not really completely forthcoming. The said it was easy to manage the disease with a daily pill and monthly shot, but everything I read is saying you have to be really in tune with you dog and watch for symptoms. Seems like a life of constant worry. I probably should have put him down sooner and not got my family into this huge debt and potential a life time of future debts had he survived but my heart couldn't let go. For anyone trying to make this decision, do what is right for you, but take the time to do your own research from different sources. And don't feel guilty one way or the other. Whatever decision you make, is the righr decision for you and no one elses business.
Donna - Comment
Donna06 Jun 2018Reply
My son just lost his 6 year old black last night to this disease. No symptoms, he crashed yesterday, they rushed him to the ER vet, they thought they could save him, sadly he coded several times last night and they were unable to bring him back. They are devastated, he was a wonderful dog and will be deeply missed.
Casey Cox - Comment
Casey Cox11 Jun 2018Reply
My 6 old dog went into addisonian crisis on Friday he was in hospital from then and come home today Monday. But he is still weak and not eating. I'm giving fluids and force feeding him chicken. Did anyone have this experience when did your dog start eating themselves? I'm sick with worry that I'm losing him
Viola - Comment
Viola18 Jun 2018Reply
My border terrier was diagnosed with Addison about 5 years ago. After fluorinef was stopped here (UK) she has been on injections if Zycortal every 25 days and daily prednisone tablet. I give her the injections. Once she was stabilised on medication she was absolutely fine with no symptoms. She is now 13.
Misty - Comment
Misty22 Jun 2018Reply
My Great Dane got diagnosed with Addison’s I have never heard of this before!!! It’s a scary feeling to have my boy look so sick and not know how to help him now that he gets his shot monthly he is doing well!!!!! How ever his shot is $200 a month ughhh I just love my big baby I’m willing to go I to Dead Just so he can be with us alittle longer he is only 4 and hope we have more time with him
Jill - Comment
Jill25 Jun 2018Reply
I feel like I need to bring a little more optimism to this conversation. I have a 10.5 yo chihuahua poodle mix who was diagnosed with atypical Addison’s 5 years ago. The diagnosis stage was terrible because it took about a week to figure out, and she almost died during that time. But thankfully she didn’t, and she has been living her best life since then! She gets a pill every day, and I give her a shot at home every month (it’s harder on me than it is on her!) but she is happy and healthy and I couldn’t imagine not having her in my life as a result of this disease.
I am definitely in tune with her moods and I can sense when she needs her shot (if she’s had a stressful month with thunderstorms and vet visits sometimes she gets it a day or two early.) So it’s definitely helpful to know your dog well. And it’s not super cheap, although there is now a generic for Percorten and it’s about $150/vial which can last 6+ months. Learn to give the injection yourself (it can be subcutaneous even if your vet says differently, my first one said intermuscular only which is MUCH harder to do at home, but I did more research and SC has worked just fine) and that will save you a lot of money in the long run. We do a full electrolyte panel each year, but other than that the maintence costs aren’t too bad. So while there are obviously lots of different scenarios, if anyone’s pup was just diagnosed, take heart - lots of dogs live completely normal and wonderful long lives with Addison’s.

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Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia
Puerto Rico, Camuy
25 Jun 2018
Hi I get the order. The services is excellent. Always we want to get the products faster but you doing a great job.
 
 
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