The Great Pretender


Addison’s disease, called “The Great Pretender,” is often misdiagnosed because it resembles so many other illnesses. Patients with Addison’s are often erroneously diagnosed as having gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infections, parasites, cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, or poisoning. Acute renal failure, liver disease, urinary blockage, pancreatitis, insulinoma, hyperparathyroidism, and protein-losig enteropathy are other common misdiagnoses.

The most dramatic Addison’s symptom is the endocrine emergency called Addisonian crisis. This occurs when the dog goes into shock due to circulatory collapse, and it can happen so quickly that a healthy looking dog is suddenly, within a few hours, close to death.

For many dog owners, the crisis is their first sign that something is wrong. About 30-35 percent of dogs with Addison’s are initially diagnosed during a crisis.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Addison’s disease, purchase and download Whole Dog Journal’s ebook, Addison’s Disease.