Distinguishing Addison's Disease From Heat Stroke In Dogs

Heat stroke in dogs can be very dangerous and be fatal to your dog. However, the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs can be similar to the symptoms of other dangerous diseases, such as Addison's disease, or hypoadrenocoriticism.

Symptoms and Dangers of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke in dogs can occur quickly, within a matter of minutes, if your dog is left exposed to very hot conditions. That's why it's very important never to leave your dog alone in a car, and to always make sure that he has plenty of water and shade.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:

  • Rapid, excessive panting;
  • Wide, glazed eyes;
  • Excessive drooling;
  • Weakness;
  • Hot, dry skin;
  • Pale, dry gums;
  • Loss of consciousness.

Without immediate first aid, your dog will not be able to recover from heat stroke. Cool down your overheating dog by submerging him in cool, but not cold water. If this isn't possible, wrap wet towels around his head and chest, and have him stand in cool water.

Addison's Disease in Dogs

Addison's disease occurs when your dog's adrenal gland malfunctions. Most cases of the disease are idiopathic, meaning that no one knows what causes them, but Addison's disease can be the result of trauma, fungal infection, cancer, and genetics.

Some symptoms of Addison's disease are difficult to distinguish from the symptoms of other conditions like heat stroke. Some symptoms that the two diseases share are:

  • Lethargy;
  • Weakness;
  • Dehydration;
  • Vomiting and diarrhea;
  • Loss of bladder control.

It's important to make an accurate diagnosis of Addison's disease in dogs. With treatment, your dog can live a nearly normal life with Addison's disease. However, if left untreated Addison's disease can lead to kidney failure, shock, and death.

Distinguishing Heat Stroke from Addison's Disease

If your dog has been left alone in a car on a hot summer day or has been otherwise exposed to high extremes of heat immediately before his symptoms developed, he is probably suffering from heat stroke. Cool your dog down by submerging him in cool (not cold) water, and offer him something to drink. If his symptoms improve with this first aid treatment then instruct your vet to treat him for heat stroke.

Addison's disease typically occurs in female dogs aged older than seven years. Other symptoms of Addison's disease include:

  • Depression;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Excessive thirst;
  • Excessive urination;
  • Weight loss;
  • Fast heart rate.