Addison's disease is a rare hormonal disorder which affects dogs, cats, and humans. If a dog has Addison's disease, this means that their adrenal glands are failing to produce important hormones responsible for regulating some of their key bodily processes. Addison's disease is a serious condition and can be fatal if left untreated. However, it can usually be controlled successfully with the right treatment. Most dogs with appropriately-treated Addison's disease will have a normal lifespan.
Dogs have two adrenal glands, one next to each kidney. They produce two important hormones - cortisone and aldosterone. Cortisone helps your dog's body to cope with stress, while aldosterone controls the balance of water and electrolytes in their body. The adrenal glands also work in tandem with the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain by producing hormones to help control various systems including digestion and immunity. If your dog has Addison's disease, their adrenal glands don't produce these hormones and problems occur with their organs and bodily systems.
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