Addison’s disease is an adrenal gland disorder that results in decreased production of important steroid hormones, primarily aldosterone. As a result of this disease, cats experience a variety of abnormalities that can lead to death if left untreated. It is important to recognize the signs of disease to ensure your cat receives veterinary care.
What is Addison’s disease in cats?
Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, is a disease of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are a group of small glands in the cat’s abdomen near the kidneys. The adrenal glands are vital to life and are responsible for regulating blood pressure, blood volume and vascular tone. Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands reduce the production of aldosterone, an important steroid hormone. Due to low aldosterone production, the body is unable to regulate the excess accumulation of potassium, sodium and chloride in the blood, leading to cardiovascular and other organ complications.
Cats with Addison’s disease may not be sick all the time until the disease progresses. Signs of Addison’s disease in cats include: lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.Vomiting and diarrhea were initially noted, but as the disease progressed, more clinical signs were noted. If left untreated, cats can develop adrenal crisis due to stressful conditions.Therefore, if you notice any of these clinical signs, be sure to seek the attention of your veterinarian if your cat is behaving abnormally
Causes of Cat Addie’s Sickness
Addison’s disease is rare in cats, and it’s thought to be caused by an autoimmune disease.It can also happen if the cat has a mass/tumor within its adrenal gland that takes up space or compresses its adrenal gland.
Diagnosing Addison’s Disease in Cats
To diagnose a cat with Addison’s disease, your veterinarian will first perform a thorough physical examination and take the patient’s medical history. If Addison’s disease is suspected, a series of diagnostic tests will be recommended to check organ function and look for any signs of disease.
Treatment of Cat Addison’s Disease
The course of treatment will be determined based on the severity of your cat’s Addison’s disease. Intravenous fluids help correct dehydration and restore electrolyte levels to normal. Hormone replacement therapy can usually be started when the animal is stable. There is no cure for Addison’s disease, so lifelong treatment with medication is necessary.Most cats with Addison’s disease have a good long-term prognosis unless the cause of the disease is due to a tumor.