Fludrocortisone for Dogs

When your pet's adrenal glands are not producing adequate quantities of hormones to support his bodily functions, fluldrocortisone is a good option to help reset his system. The condition in which the adrenal glands work insufficiently and there is a deficiency of adrenal hormones is called hypoadrenocorticism, or Addison's Disease in dogs. This is a potentially very serious or even life threatening condition that can affect pets of any age or breed. Read on for a brief overview on how fludrocortisone can help to treat your pet's condition.

Fludrocortisone Overview

The two hormones that the adrenal glands produce naturally are called aldosterone and cortisol. These hormones are responsible for regulating a wide variety of different functions within your pet's body. It's possible that the adrenal glands will malfunction and either produce too much or too little of one or both of these hormones. When they produce too little, the hormone levels must be balanced out in your dog's body with a supplemental hormone medication like fludrocortisone.

If left untreated, hypoadrenocorticism can lead to:

  • total weakness
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • shock
  • abnormal blood potassium levels
  • coma
  • death

Using Fludrocortisone to Balance Your Pet's Hormone Levels

After your veterinarian has determined through a set of blood tests that your dog's hormone levels are askew and that he suffers from hypoadrenocorticism, you can discuss potential treatment options. While this condition can typically not be treated completely, it can be managed well with the use of a hormone supplement like fludrocortisone. Although fludrocortisone is designed for use in humans, it can be prescribed for dogs by veterinarians as an extra label drug. It is available in tablet form.

The exact dosage of fludrocortisone that your pet will need is dependent upon a wide array of factors, including:

  • the level at which his adrenal glands function
  • his size
  • weight
  • age
  • breed

Because of the delicate nature of balancing out his hormones, it's crucial that you carefully follow your vet's advice when it comes to providing this medicine to your dog. You'll also need to take him in to the vet for regular examinations so that you can be sure that his hormone levels have been adjusted properly.

Fludrocortisone Risks and Side Effects

Fludrocortisone can react negatively with certain drugs or chemicals in your pet's body. For this reason, it's crucial that you tell your vet about any and all prior medical conditions and drug regimens that your pet is following before you begin to treat him with fludrocortisone. It's also possible that your pet may have an allergic reaction to the drug, so it's a good idea to watch for signs of that as well.

If the levels of fludrocortisone are not high enough, the symptoms of Addison's disease will persist. However, if your dog has an overdose of fludrocortisone, he may suffer from abnormal blood potassium and sodium levels, excessive thirst and more. Thus, it's important that you monitor your pet closely while he's on this medicine.