Addisons disease in dogs

CDSG Shooting Sports

monty the stalker

Active Member
My GSP has been recently been through a very traumatic time! over the last 2 months. We believe it started with her being poisoned (due someone using poison to clear crows /rooks in the area with out regard for the consequences.). This led to her having a week in the vets and one not happy owner praying his stalking buddy was not going to that happy stalking ground in the sky. (she is insured but thats secondary as money is not the issue compared to one unhappy wife and daughter).

This has resulted in that she has now been diagnosed with Addisons disease. This is a heredaitry disease that effects certain breeds, but can not find anything of this breed relating to GSP's

Has anyone any experience of this disease with their working dogs. Can any one give me some indication as to what is in store for the dog over the coming years and how has it affected your dog in terms of its ability to work and lead a happy / fulfilled life.

Many thanks Monty.


Well-Known Member
Hi Monty,
Sorry to hear you GSP has Addison's disease,presumably she was diagnosed after her illness of query poisoning. As an addisonian crisis can present a similar picture. Has your Vet explained about the electrolyte imbalance?
For those who are uncertain of the condition will explain.
The adrenal glands ( the little bean shaped masses which you can occasionally find in the fat ahead of the kidneys ) produce hormones which control the levels of sodium and potassium in the blood. When they stop functioning there results an imbalance. The sodium level drops and the potassium goes up.
Unfortunately this can reach a level where the heart can fibrillate ( it beats in an inco-ordinate manner ) and no blood or little gets around the body and if sufficiently high stops the heart. Blood tests monitor the ratio of sodium/potassium.
Treatment is by long acting replacement therapy of these hormones. Also the diet should have an increased amount of salt. Get your vet to show you how to take the dog's pulse on the femoral artery as this can be a guidance to attention being needed. Pulse rate rising visit to vet. If you are on good terms with you vet ask for a injectable dose of cortisone if disaster strikes while out stalking to give you time to get to surgery. Provided you monitor GSP general health she can work. Remember you are the expert on your dog the vet only tells you what's wrong.If you require more info pm me.

monty the stalker

Active Member

This is Mrs Monty now!! Thanks for the reply. I'm taking her to the vet this week to get her levels checked and see how much the pred is to be reduced. I'll definitely ask about taking her heart rate etc. Its annoying because its one of these conditions that not many people are aware of and of course the symptoms can vary from dog to dog! We are lucky that our vet is excellent and has been throughout the whole episode. What you say is right, you have to read your dog its just a bit of a grey area regarding taking her shooting which wont be for a while yet but its getting as much info and views as possible. Also the thing with salt, would that be something you would possibly add or look for food that possibly has a higher % of salt?


Well-Known Member
This may sound a very stupid question!! My old springers Teal and Megan, no longer with me ! :( used to lick the salt licks or mineral licks found near cattle! would it be worth just sticking a cattle mineral lick close by the water owl or in garden somewhere! , or would the concentrate be to much for a young dog.
Thanks in anticipation
Trapper( oh and she is comming on strong)

monty the stalker

Active Member
Actually, as Addison dogs get their potassium and sodium salt levels tested there might be a point in what you say!!

Do you or anyone else have any other info on this and if there is any point in it?


Well-Known Member
Sorry for delay in answering First Trapper.
Dogs frequently will take a lick at salt but stop before they have taken too much. My Labs tried sea water and decided no. I have searched the literature and surprisingly no detail on daily requirements of salt for dogs although pups have higher need because they need more energy. The salt level in dried food seems to vary between 0.3 and 1.0 %. If you do supplement salt make certain always plenty water available. Don't worry about dewclaws as some spaniels manage to work without getting into trouble. See you on dog day.
Monty. Hope your dog is stable now. To go into a bit more detail on sodium.
It is required to take nutrients into cells and then is pumped out so doesn't get too much ( sodium pump ) The adrenal glands put out a hormone Aldosterone which acts on the kidney to keep sodium and water in the body. Only the excess goes out. In Addisons this hormone is lacking so net loss of sodium,potassium sort of steps into the place but too much has an effect on the heart. Hence the dietary excess of salt. Bit like a tap running without the plug in the basin The prednisolone is short acting and has to be given daily (short halflife ) to replace the stress hormone Cortisol. Thats the one plus adrenaline that messes up your shot at the trophy buck/stag.


Well-Known Member
I have a spaniel that suffers from this. I initially thought that she would have to go to sleep, especially as the vet was encouraging multiple visits and a soaring bill. He talked me out of it and she is pretty normal most of the time.

Symptoms: goes off food, looks and acts depressed. After light excercise and even without any and pre-diagnosis she was found to have her back end collapse. Very worrying initially. :(

Once prescribed, she hunts, retrieves and wants to come out with the odd relapse. This is fixed with another tablet, like a booster.........then she acts like an 18 month old pup. :eek:

In my town of 20,000 people, she is only the 3rd that the vet knows about.

It is also cheap to treat. :D
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