Addison’s disease is anendocrine or hormonal disorder in dogs that affects their adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for the release of important hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone, and aldosterone, a hormone that helps regulate levels of potassium and sodium in the body.
Addison’s disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism because the adrenals release too-low levels of these hormones. Too-high levels of cortisol and aldosterone are caused by the opposite condition – hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease.
Addison’s commonly affects young to middle-aged dogs, more females than males, and the average age of onset is four years old. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Bearded Collies, and Portuguese Water Dogs have a higher genetic predisposition for the disease.