Addison's Disease

Addison's disease occurs when there is a decreased output of adrenal gland hormones by the adrenal glands. The cause of Addison's disease is unknown although for some dogs it appears vaccines may be implicated. For those breeds or families of dogs susceptible to or effected with immune dysfunction, immune-mediated disease, immune-reactions associated with vaccinations, or autoimmune endocrine disease (e.g., thyroiditis, Addison's or Cushing's disease, diabetes, etc.), Dr. Jean Dodd's vaccine protocol is highly recommended. These dogs include: Dachshund, Akita, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, American Eskimo, Old English Sheepdogs, Pit Bulls, Irish Setters, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

The adrenal glands are called the stress glands as they are responsible for the production of epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine that help regulate the nervous system, heart rate, respiration as well as the "fight or flight" response. Adrenal glands also produce glucocorticoids and mineral corticoids that help to control blood sugar levels and regulate the passage of minerals respectively. You can see how the loss of adrenal function is life threatening and, as a result, proper medical attention as well as a thorough wellness program is necessary for long term success in treating Addison's disease in dogs.

Standard Veterinary Treatment for an Addison's Disease Dog:
Relies on the use of cortisone type drugs to manage Addison's disease. Since this is a life threatening condition a holistic treatment must encompass this standard western medicine approach.

Holistic Recommendations for an Addison's Disease Dog:
There are important natural steps you can take to improve the health of your dog with Addison's disease.

  • A biologically appropriate whole food diet - The foundation of a wellness plan for a dog with Addison's disease. Whole, natural foods featuring highly bioavailable animal protein without the addition of chemical additives and synthetic vitamins plus enzymes, probiotics and essential fatty acids.

  • Glandular support - Glandular support is one of the most effective therapies to naturally facilitate healing of damaged or stressed glands. The adrenal glands may be able to regain some of their lost function allowing for a lower dose of prescription drugs (must be done w/ veterinary supervision).

  • Multivitamin with vitamins C, E & A - Support proper immune function.

  • Natural Herbal Support

    • Licorice - An herb which can help stimulate the adrenal glands allowing for a lower dose of prescription drugs (must be done w/ veterinary supervision).

    • Nettle, Dandelion and Spirulina - Rich in vitamins and minerals which support adrenal function.

    • Flower Essences - Important for stress reduction in an Addison's disease dog. Flower essences are a nice, gentle modality that can help provide emotional balance.