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Addison’s Disease Research Paper

Imagine someone sitting at home with their furry little animal, and they realize that the animal is acting quite strange. They think that the animal, is probably just dehydrated, and grab some water for the animal. Soon, several days pass, and the owner of the animal, sees their dog laying on the floor shaking, and unable to stand. They try to feed them, but the animal refuses to eat. As the animal lies on the floor, they look depressed, and seem to progressively become worse. They soon decide that the animal will go to the vet, where the animal undergoes some testing, and becomes rehydrated through an IV.

Soon after being treated, the dog seems to act like it was never sick. The doctor asks the owner questions, and soon a diagnosis is clear. The animal has Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is an uncommon disease that associates itself with many deceiving symptoms. These symptoms also seem to appear as suddenly as they seem to disappear, which helps to narrow down the options for an accurate diagnosis. This uncommon disease affects multiple types of mammals, and is manageable through lifelong treatment. Some may have never heard about this disease, and may wonder what this diseases symptoms are.

Is Addison’s disease inheritable? Can this disease be cured? Thomas Addison recognized Addison’s disease in 1849. At this time, this disease was only found in humans. According to the author Arnold Plotnick, from the article, “Addison’s Disease Averting an Adrenal Crisis,” “Thomas Addison associated the disease with a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. ” Once discovered, no therapy was available to treat Addison’s disease, so everyone who suffered from the disease passed away (Plotnick p. 1, 2001). Just over one-hundred years after being discovered, Addison’s disease arose in animals.

According to the author Arnold Plotnick, from the article, “Addison’s Disease Averting an Adrenal Crisis,” “… A small-animal practice with two veterinarians each seeing 1,500 dogs per year, should expect to diagnose one case of Addison’s disease a year. ” This disease is diagnosed at almost anytime of an animal’s life, but is mainly diagnosed when the animal is middle age (Plotnick p. 1, 2001). Generally, larger sized dogs have a better chance of contracting this disease. The disease appears to have a genetic background in some breeds of animals but not in others.

The reasoning depends on how closely related the parent animals are (Hines, 2011). Either gender can contract the disease, but the female is the dominant gender to generally contract this disease. (Plotnick p. 1, 2001). Now that we have some background information, what does this disease do? Imagine not being hungry, throwing up, shaking uncontrollably, and not understanding why. This is only some of the things that the animals who suffer this illness have to go through. This disease causes the immune to attack system attack the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys.

The animal’s adrenal glands will soon fail to produce enough cortisol, which helps provide adrenaline, and several other hormones (Marguiles, 2008). This is an important hormone because, adrenaline helps to regulate salt, sugar, and water. Some of the disease’s symptoms include; “poor appetite, vomiting, weakness, weight loss, and might be dehydrated... ” (Plotnick p. 1, 2001). Some other symptoms include; “… very low blood sugar levels or seizures or muscle tremors or heart beat irregularities. ” (Marguiles, 2008).

These symptoms are the most prominent when the animal is stressed and they are associated with various other health issues, so this disease is easy to misdiagnose (Marguiles, 2008) because the symptoms go unnoticed up to this point. The only sure way that seems to work to diagnose this disease, is through a blood test (Plotnick p. 1, 2001). Although, there is no specific way to diagnose this disease, there are several ways to help the veterinarian eliminate all other options. One way to test is through blood testing veterinarians can see what would cause the symptoms that are prominent.

The various telltale signs include; a higher potassium level, and a low sodium level. These along with several other results from blood work are the telltale signs toward diagnosing such a disease. Although the signs and results from blood tests help, they do not necessarily help with an appropriate diagnosis. This is due to the fact that so many other illnesses contain these signs and results. The only way to accurately diagnose this disease is by asking questions about how the animal had been behaving, along with the blood tests.

If the symptoms are present before the animal is brought in to the veterinarian and the other results support the veterinarian’s suspicions, than the veterinarian can safely assume that the dog has this disease, and can easily treat them(Lockard, 2011). This disease is usually not caught and treated until the symptoms becomes critical. Animals usually come to the veterinarian at this point, because the symptoms are either too subtle to notice, or they are misdiagnosed (Hines, 2011).

Once the animal has this diagnosis, the next step is treatment. The treatment will be lifelong but will help the animal life a long and happy life. The treatment includes; a pill, or injection that is administered every twenty-five days that eliminates the potassium that is around the heart (Lockard, 2011). One pill that is given with a prescription at a pharmacy, and used is called prednisone. Although this pill can wreak havoc on the animals kidneys, if used in moderation, Prednizone can help to calm the animal down and make them feel better.

The amount of medicine that veterinarians and owners administer not only depends on the size and weight of the dog, but the amount also depends on how much stress the animal is under when it is being treated. Moving, surgeries, and many other aspects can affect the dog’s stress level. The disease does not take long to take over again, so the treatment should be continued even if the animal seems to feel better. Once the animal is treated with medication, it should live its entire life normally. However, if not treated, the animal could live an extremely short, and depressing life.

Veterinarian’s believe that this disease is genetic, but researchers do not know why it occurs. Several people believe that the environment that the animals endure cause the disease to occur. Many breeds such as “Standard Poodles, Leonbergers, Great Danes, and West Highland White Terriers” are tested to find out why the animals suffer this disease. So far no answer has been found (Garcia, 2002) This disease was not discovered in dogs until about one hundred years after it was found in humans, and is an uncommon disease that causes major issues if it is not properly treated.

The symptoms to this disease do not just misdirect the veterinarian, but they can also disappear as soon as they seem to appear. Even though there is no sure way to diagnose this disease, their are several methods and ways to treat it. The symptoms may misdirect veterinarians to other issues, but as long as the animal is tested correctly, there should not be a problem when finding a diagnosis. Hopefully, researchers will soon figure out what gene causes this disease and why Addison’s disease occurs.

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