Long term medication for Addison disease sufferer Sally

Sally is a 5 year old Female Maltese Cross. She was brought into our clinic as she had been off colour for three days. Sally was quite weak and did not want to eat, she also had diarrhoea. The veterinarian thoroughly examined Sally. Her heart rate was fast but she was quite nervous in the consulting room, and her temperature was lower than normal. She was not in any discomfort when we felt her abdomen.

Sallys' owner had not noticed her drinking any more or less than usual and she had been urinating a normal amount. The veterinarian spoke to Sally's owner, in which they both decided to admit sally to hospital for monitoring.

A blood sample was taken to send to the pathologist. This was to check Sally's electrolyte balance and to check how her major organs are functioning. Sally was then put on intravenous fluids because she had not been eating and had diarrhoea, which can make her dehydrated. The next day, Sally was a little brighter. She had diarrhoea over night and her temperature was still quite lower than normal.

The blood results showed that Sally could possibly have either renal disease or Addisons Disease. Renal disease is when the kidneys have been damaged either acutely by toxins and infections or chronically over a long period of time usually due to the body ageing. Addison's disease is when the adrenal glands in the body are not producing enough hormone levels. Adrenal glands are two small glands which are found next to the kidneys. They secrete many different hormones which are essential for normal every day functioning. The most important of these hormones are the ones that control electrolyte and water balances in the body and also the hormone which stimulates appetite, helps control blood glucose levels, helps the kidneys control water and helps control red and white blood cell numbers.

Clinical signs for Addison's disease are:
- no appetite
- vomiting
- diarrhoea
- depression
- weakness
- urinating more
- and drinking more

Both disease can be serious.
Further blood tests were needed to differentiate between the diseases. The blood test consists of taking a blood sample from sally, then injecting a hormone stimulant. One hour after the injection was given, another blood test was taken. This is to check whether the stimulant had any effect on the function of the adrenal glands. The results are used to show whether Sally has Addison's Disease.

The results showed Sally did have Addison's disease. Addison's can be managed well using long term medication. Sally has been doing very well and has been visiting our hospital for follow up blood tests to make sure the medication is working for her.