This fuzzy face belongs to our friend Gracie K. Gracie boards with us quite frequently and pretty much just makes herself at home when she is here. Dogs commonly get upset stomachs while boarding because of diet change, excitement, or stress that is associated with a sudden change in routine for them. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, or any combination thereof. Gracie had never had a problem before so the boarding staff was quite concerned when she started vomiting. They alerted our Doctors right away! Dr. Brady did a full exam and couldn’t find anything abnormal on Gracie. He gave her some medication to treat the vomiting. She went home from boarding that day. We told her family what happened and they were instructed to watch her closely at home.
Gracie’s family brought her back later that evening. Gracie was doing nothing but getting worse! This was not simply some stress induced vomiting.
Dr. Brady decided to run some blood tests to see what was going on. Blood electrolyte levels prompted Dr. Brady to test for a disease called Hypoadrenocorticism or Addison's Disease. Gracie’s test came back positive for the condition.
Patients with Addison’s Disease have a deficiency of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid steroids. The body produces/uses it’s corticosteroids to prepare the body for fight/flight when stressed/excited. Without the normal corticosteroid hormone levels, the initial signs are vomiting and diarrhea, along with lethargy. The mineralocorticoids aid in salt and blood pressure regulation. Over time, the body uses up all reserves and can't keep up with the body's needs. Dehydration can occur, low blood sugar compounds the wekaness and heart problems result from abnormal salt balance. This condition is called an “Addisonian Crisis” and can be deadly. This is also when many Addisonian patients are diagnosed.
Gracie spent one night in the hospital on fluids and has been home since. She gets supplementation of the steroids her body is not producing in the form of oral tablets as well as an injection once monthly. She has been in for follow up blood work and is maintaining very well! She is bounding around and back to enjoying her boarding stays at Best Friends Animal Health Center!
Please refer to this articles for more details on hypoadrenocorticism: