Addisons Disease

Symptoms of Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism):

Regurgitation and diarrhoea
Weight loss 
Weakness, shaking and shivering
Increased drinking and urination
Painful abdomen 


These signs may have a gradual or sudden onset, or wax and wane, which sometimes makes it difficult for owners to assess how long their dog has been ill. The only way to confirm this disease is by carrying out an ACTH blood test.


I have heard that owners are amazed how, once diagnosed and treated their pet recover, some do have a few problems. I try and put the owner of a newly diagnosed dog in touch with an 'old hand', someone who has coped over the years with the problem. It helps to talk and the SPC recommends Addison's Disease in dogs closed FB group. Link here or search on Facebook 'Addison's Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism) in Dogs' which has 4,500 members sharing their experiences and several interesting/helpful documents.



Inclusion of Affected Dogs for the Open Registry:
Names of affected dogs should be submitted on the Addison's Form to be completed by the owner of the dog. Included on the form will be the dog's K.C. name, number and names of Sire, Dam, Grandsires and Granddams. A copy of the veterinary certificate will also be necessary. 

This Form can be downloaded HERE or it is available from the SPC at the Crufts Stand, Champ Show, Open Show from your 
regional representative or contact David Dennison 07377991101


The Standard Poodle Club has made a major donation of £1000 towards the vital research project to investigate the rise in numbers of dogs with Addison's Disease. The initiative has been led by the Beardied Collie Breed Council with a major grant from the Kennel Club. With the support of the SPC and others the fundraising target was reached, research commissioned and completed.

Our breed is badly affected and we hoped that this research project's findings would help to understand more about this distressing condition. Unfortunately the results were inconclusive - a lay summary report from Professor Catchpole is below and the full research findings available from the SPC stand at Crufts 10th March 2019 at the NEC Coventry, at our Champ Show on Sunday 4th Aug 2019 and Open show Saturday 12th Oct 2019.

Although progress has been slow we are growing our knowledge in fact Finnish Laphunds tested positive for autoantibodies which indicates there are distinct differences of Addisons between breeds.

A new Master of Research Student is starting in Oct 2018 and working on this project for another Year. The Standard Poodle Club is committed to facilitating this research and may ask members for saliva swabs or blood samples from their dogs


Serological profiling of autoantibodies in canine hypoadrenocorticism

Brian Catchpole BVetMed MSc PhD FRVCS

Professor of Companion Animal Immunology

Lay Summary

Canine Addison’s disease results from autoimmune destruction of the adrenal glands, leading to a deficiency in corticosteroid production. This results in a number of clinical signs, from waxing and waning non-specific illness to collapse and sudden death. In humans, the disease is associated with the presence of autoantibodies in the blood, which target the enzymes involved in steroid synthesis (known as P450scc, 21OH, 17OH and 3βHSD). We previously developed a radio-immunoassay for canine P450scc and demonstrated that a proportion of dogs affected with Addison’s disease were autoantibody positive. The aim of the project was 1) to adapt this assay to a non-radioactive format, 2) to expand the autoantigen panel for use in serological testing and 3) to specifically test serum samples from high risk breeds.

1) We successfully cloned canine p450scc into a new vector and produced recombinant protein containing a nanoluciferase tag, for use in a luciferase immunoprecipitation assay. Serum samples from Addisonian dogs were tested and a proportion of dogs were shown to be positive, similar to that seen with the original radio-immunoassay.

2) We successfully cloned canine 17OH and 3βHSD, although the cloning of 21OH failed. We developed autoantibody assays for these two additional steroid synthesis enzymes and demonstrated that a proportion of Addisonian dogs were positive (10/58 positive for 17OH autoantibodies and 8/53 positive for 3βHSD autoantibodies). Repeat cloning of canine 21OH into a new vector has now been achieved and we will be testing this autoantigen in the luciferase immunoprecipitation assay in the future (with a new MRes research student).

3) Serum samples from 9 Standard Poodles were submitted to the Royal Veterinary College during the course of the project. These were tested for autoantibodies against P450scc, 17OH and 3βHSD. Only one dog was positive and reacted to P450scc only. This is similar to the results found in Bearded Collies, although in the Finnish Laphund, all dogs tested so far have been positive for P450scc autoantibodies. This indicates that there are breed differences in the autoantibody response and suggests that some dogs react to 21OH or some other (as yet unidentified) adrenal autoantigen.


Future plans

We will continue the research into autoimmunity in Addison’s disease. We have a new MRes student starting in October 2018 who will be taking on development of the 21OH immunoassay. We will continue to pursue different avenues for sponsorship (e.g. crowdfunding, charities and commercial sources, such as Dechra). The one year MRes programme is a cost effective way of advancing this research programme as well as providing a postgraduate training experience


Addison’s disease in dogs is this on your RADAR?

R - RECOGNITION of the symptoms which include poor appetite, weight loss, lethargy, hind end weakness, irregular heartbeat, shaking, feeling cold, sickness, diarrhoea, ‘depression’ and others. Addison’s mimic many other things and a dog may only have one visible symptom.

A - ACTION if your dog displays any of the above symptoms or something feels ‘not right’ act fast, a dog with under diagnosed Addison’s can go downhill very quickly and even die before a diagnosis is made. Ask your vet to do an ACTH test, the definitive test for Addison’s. Have the electrolytes checked also as these are relevant in distinguishing the type of Addison’s your dog has.


there are two main types of Addison’s

1. Typical Addison’s where a dog’s adrenal glands are unable to produce two hormones aldosterone and cortisol. The electrolytes will be unbalanced with high potassium and low sodium.

2. Dogs with Atypical Addison’s have well balanced electrolytes and only need a cortisol replacement. Some dogs with Atypical, transition to Typical usually within the first few months post diagnosis.

A - ADMINISTRATION of drugs. Once a diagnosis has been made and the dog is stabilised I V fluids may be necessary initially  - dogs with Atypical Addison’s need Prednisolon or similar EVERY day.

Dogs with Typical Addison’s need either a monthly injection of DOCP (Zycortal or Percorten) as well as a daily dose of steroid such as Prednisolone or they need Fludrocortizone tablets every day. The drugs will be necessary for the duration of their lives.

R - REVIEW and aim to optimise the Meds  over the next few months which means checking the electrolytes where applicable to ensure the dog has no unwanted side-effects. Your dog can now enjoy it’s life to the full.





















@2017 Standard Poodle Club.

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