|Is there any way we could get a photo of what the strange fur patterns look like?
Thanks for providing this important information. I requested my kits today. I lost a pug to this cruel disease and will gladly do what I can to help in the fight.
First of all, I'd like to thank Ginnie once again for all her hard work in bringing Addison's awareness to the forefront! I'm sure MANY dogs' lives have been saved directly due to the 3-part series she ran last year!
Second, regarding a site where you can observe the strange fur patterns observed by so many owners of dogs diagnosed with Addisons -I'm afraid I don't know where to find one... but I can tell you that it's a "hindsight" observation and there are much more serious symptoms that would call your attention to the fact that something's wrong with your dog! The "anecdotal" information that a LOT of dogs have undergone mysterious coat changes prior to becoming ill, is just that: unsupported by scientific data ...but reported by many, MANY people, nonetheless! In our case, six months before diagnosis, Catherine's coat became unusually long and thick, with a dense grey undercoat! She had "feathers" on her hind legs and a ruff around her neck! (keep in mind, she's a black Great Dane!). After Catherine was diagnosed and stabilized, she lost that *weird* coat, btw, and I DO have pictures of me VACCUUMING her to get rid of it! <g> On the flip side, some dogs lose hair or change coat color prior to diagnosis...go figure!
I have my own theory on this anomaly -that the pituitary is trying so hard to get the adrenals to respond to the body's need for the hormones they produce, that it prompts them to secrete whatever they can - and what they send out are the hormones that stimulate hair growth. But my opinion carries about as much weight as a feather in a snowstorm -so don't put a lot of faith in it! I'm not a vet, and I don't even play one on TV! <vbg>
One thing I keep in mind is something I read in a roundtable discussion by the country's top canine endocrinologists, sponsored by Novartis: Whenever encountering a non-specific G.I. problem, before embarking on invasive testing, run the ACTH test and rule out Addison's! It's a lot less stressful on the dog! (and cheaper for you in the long run!)
Now...everybody that hasn't already sent for the DNA kits from UCDavis -what are you waiting for?
Ginnie, thanks so much for educating us about Addison's disease. Krueger's buddy, OP, was diagnosed in June 2003 with atypical Addison's.
Before diagnosis, OP had the most bizarre coat ever seen on a Great Dane. We laughed that he had a coat similar to a Shetland Pony's. Thick, curly, long... very non-harlequin Great Dane-like.
It took us six month and innumerable veterianary specialists to diagnose OP's Addison's disease. At one point he was being seen by a dog chiropractor, a dog massage therapist, a dog accupuncturist, a dog nutritionist -- and this was in addition to his allopathic vets, his holistic vets, and his specialty vets.
OP was weak in his hindquarters, could no longer walk his daily 4 miles, could not get off the couch, wouldn't eat, threw up often... I kept taking him from one specialist to the other saying, "something is bad wrong with this dog, please help us."
OP was diagnosed by a veterinarian who specializes in internal medicine. I listed the various symptoms that waxed and waned, and she suggested we test for Addison's. Hallelujah!
OP is doing beautifully. Addison's is highly treatable, but so very hard to diagnose. I urge each of you to send in your DNA kit to UCDavis. Thank you!
Like OP's case, Mozart's Addison's Disease was Atypical AD, as opposed to Primary AD.
Atypical Addison's can be harder for vets to recognize because with Atypical AD a dog's mineralocorticoid levels remain at normal levels, and therefore the dogs will exhibit normal electrolytes. Many veterinarians see normal electrolytes and rule out Addison's without even testing for it to be sure.
Your tenacity obviously paid off, Merrill, and OP was correctly diagnosed. I would advise anyone who has a dog with odd and intermittent health problems to INSIST on an Addison's test if their vet can't find any other clear source for the difficulties.
For those of you who would like more information about the cause, symptoms, and treatment of Addison's Disease, please refer to my earlier series of articles at:
My Dane, Gypsy, was diagnosed with Addisons when she was a little over 1 year old. Her only symptoms were a history of loose stools and intermittent anorexia. I was fortunate to have a vet who figured it out very quickly. Thanks, Ginnie, for your articles on this awful disease, and for encouraging people to have their Danes be a part of such an important study.
thanks again for bringing up this very important topic. I have TEN test kits sitting on the table waiting for me to get a sample from all my dogs. Thanks to people like Larry & Margo, Bobbie and Merrell too for stepping up to share their stories. Several of my friends have also requested test kits so hopefully we will have a good sampling of Danes for the project.
The bottom line in Mozart's story wasn't that his vets refused to run the ACTH test ...it's that they *assumed* it wasn't Addison's because an Atypical Addisonian has normal electrolytes.
Too often, that's the case -a vet will look for the most obvious clinical signs of Primary Addison's: high potassium and low sodium levels - and if those numbers are normal, they dismiss a diagnosis of Addison's Disease.
That assumption has allowed more than one beautiful dog to be lost to a completely TREATABLE disease!
Becoming aware of the problem is the first step ...and gathering enough data to identify it's heritability is our next challenge!
I'm just thrilled beyond belief that UCDavis has opened their study to Great Danes during my Catherine's lifetime! <vbg>
Thank you for helping to increase the awareness of not only Addison's Disease, but also Atypical Addison's.
Our "wanna be" Dane (Golden Retriever) was dxed with Atypical Addison's Disease in October of 2000 only because I was the proverbial squeaky wheel.
While so many Primary Addisonians do go undiagonosed, even more Atypicals are left untreated since supposedly they are said to not present the classic symptoms of Addison's Disease, meaning abnormal electrolytes (sodium and potassium readings.)
I am grateful for every single Dane that participates in this study and feel that each participant is helping to further enhance the health and longevity of this magnificent breed.
I ordered three kits for my two and a neighbor. I have a new pup of 8 weeks and a grand lady of 6. I also would like to know what would cause a Dane of 18 months to develope a shortening of a rear leg and pain on ambulation - labs and xrays negative. He is of show stock from an expensive WA breeder.
I had an Addison's Dane years ago before it was as prevalent as it is today. Most of the vets in my area had never seen an Addison's dog in their practice. Other than always looking thin, the only outward symptom my boy exhibited was the "tragic" expression that is listed as one of the symptoms. I told my vet that if he were a person I would be taking him to see a psychiatrist. My vet being a wiz in endocrinology immediately knew and wanted to test for Addison's. I'm the one who was in denial. All it took to recognize it was that one odd symptom and a few other minor things. You just never know.
Good job Ginnie! I ordered tests for my two Danes (both non-addison's) because they request samples from any Danes, not just those affected. Sent mine in and had a few to give to our Rescue group too. Hope something useful comes from the study.
**Permision to reprint in entirety granted**
IMO, everyone in Danes needs to read Ginnie Saunders' "DaDane of the Week" this week:
All I can say is "bravo" to the brave breeders who have stepped up to the plate & publically shown us all they are dealing with Addison's.
The study is underway. The disease is serious. All Danes can help & anyone having this problem in their bloodstock can only help themselves and us all by participating in this study.
Won't you please help the whole breed stamp out this deadly disease before it takes a strangle hold on the breed? And since the genes for Addison's may well be related to those for other autoimmune endocrine disorders, such as thyroid disease and diabetes, we can learn about more, even wipe out, several diseases by researching this one.
The GDCA right now is supporting (thru heavy financial investment, education articles & more) studies on thyroid and adrenal disease. Please help us help the breed by entering your dogs in this study, by talking to others about this study, by educating yourself and/or others on this disease.
Here's the parent club page for Addison's:
And thank you all.
Best Regards, JP Yousha
Chmn., Health & Welfare, GDCA
The Addison's article will remain online long after its run as the feature on DaDane of DaWeek's home page.
The PERMANENT link for this article is:
If you plan to link to the article, please use the permanent address because a new story always appears at <http://www.ginnie.com/DaDane.htm> every Monday.
Thanks for providing this info and the links.
I have requested 5 kits. Will also send this info on to my friend who recently lost her sweet boy to this horrible disease.
Hurray to those owners participating. Hopefully our participating dogs will help to find answers.
What a sad story. It breaks my heart. My dane too suffers from Addison's and I almost lost her.
I had taken her to the vet because she had mucas coming out of her eyes and she was not eating. The vet told me her eyes were dry because I smoke in the house and she was not eating due to the heat, even though I told him she was in air conditioning. He told me"she's okay Mom". When I got home she startd to crash. I rushed her by pet ambulance to the hospital later that night.
You cant blame the vets with this disease, but they should be made more aware of it.
I have a mixed breed dog (female) with Atypical Addisons. Even on Percorten, she continues to grow and lose hair constantly in huge quantities. Her nails grow uncommonly fast too. She also still has a lot of mucas coming out of her eyes as well even though she appears to feel well in every other way. Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do to help her or what she might be missing? My smalltown vet doesn't seem to have a clue. Please email me directly if you have wisdom to share! Thanks.