Adrenal Problems in Dogs

Adrenal problems in dogs can strike at any age and for any particular breed. however, older dogs and those that have genetic predispositions toward having adrenal problems are more likely to have either underactive or overactive adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for a great many of the standard bodily functions for your pet, and it's likely that any change to the standard adrenal function in your pet will be reflected in a number of physical symptoms. The adrenal glands support nearly every major system in your dog's body.

Cushing's Disease

One of the most common of all of the adrenal problems found in dogs is Cushing's Disease. This disease is caused by an overproduction of the hormone called cortisol in your pet's adrenal glands. This overproduction may happen as a result of either one of the two adrenal glands producing too much cortisol, or it may also come about because both of the glands are working too hard. In either case, Cushing's Disease results in a number of different problems for your pet's overall health.

Addison's Disease

Addison's Disease is caused by almost the opposite problem as Cushing's Disease. It is characterised by the underproduction of cortisol and other hormones that are naturally regulated by the adrenal glands as well. This disease is perhaps somewhat more immediately serious than Cushing's Disease, as it has been known to cause rapid heart beat and can lead to sudden adrenal failure if left untreated.

Identifying and Treating Adrenal Problems

Because all adrenal problems in dogs are related to a particular quantity of a certain set of hormones being produced in the blood, they are generally very easy to diagnose. The more difficult part of the process is oftentimes sorting out whether the symptoms that you notice are related to an adrenal problem or something else. Blood tests can confirm the levels of these crucial hormones in the blood; dogs with either Cushing's Disease or Addison's Disease will likely need to have regular blood work done in order to monitor their blood hormone levels closely.

There are a number of ways to treat adrenal problems in dogs. Many of these conditions are brought about by tumors or small growths on or near the adrenal glands. In these cases, corrective surgery can help to set hormone levels correctly once again. Additionally, supplemental hormones or hormone inhibitors can serve to properly balance out the levels of hormones that your pet's body receives and processes, even if the production of those hormones is still off. In this case, however, you'll need to closely monitor your pet for signs of changes in his hormone levels.

Left untreated, adrenal problems in dogs can lead to a host of different symptoms. Monitor your pet closely and work with a vet to help address these issues as they come up. Treat your pet's adrenal problems early to avoid major complications and potential fatality as well.