Cbd oil for dogs with addison’s

Addison’s Disease In Dogs

It always takes you by surprise to hear that your pup has been diagnosed with a disease. It’s even worse when you have never heard about the disease before. Addison’s Disease in dogs is an uncommon disease that is unheard of to most pet owners, but it has a habit targeting a certain subsect of dogs. Addison’s disease can be quite dangerous and even fatal, but with early diagnosis and treatment, dogs with Addison’s disease can live a long and normal life.

What is Addison’s Disease In Dogs

Addison’s disease, hypoadrenocorticism – is a medical condition where a dog’s adrenal glands have difficulty producing hormones – notably cortisol and aldosterone. Adrenal hormones are vital to controlling the balance between the trifecta of water, sugar, and salt in the body.

Canine Hypoadrenocorticism can affect any dog at any age. However, it’s most commonly seen in young to middle aged female dogs around age four. Addison’s disease is rare in cats of all types.

Your dog can only develop Addison’s disease if its adrenal glands are damaged. The symptoms of Addison’s disease vary in severity and can come on rather quickly. They are often confused for other less severe medical issues playing into the danger of the disease.

It’s hard to describe Addison’s disease in the same way we can with say allergies — which have very distinctive symptoms and causes. This is simply due to the nature of hormones and how they balance health. When a hormone becomes unbalanced itself it can affect health in a number of ways — both in big and microscopic ways.


Better known as the stress hormone, cortisol is vital to the management and metabolizing of sugar, protein, and fat in the body. It of course plays a significant role in stress but plays minor roles in tissue repair, memory formulation, and reducing inflammation.


Aldosterone has many roles, but mainly it’s found in the kidneys where it aids in the conversation of sodium, production of potassium, stabilizes blood pressure and retains water. It has a small role, but not fully understood role in stress and the adrenal glands — anxiety increases aldosterone.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease is more common in dogs than Addison’s, and it’s caused by an overproduction of cortisol unlike Addison’s which is a paucity of cortisol. Symptoms include increased thirst, appetite, and urination, along with elasticity and thin skin.

What Causes Addison’s Disease?

Autoimmune disease is the culprit in the vast majority of cases. Autoimmune disease happens when the body’s immune system attacks the body. In Addison’s disease, this assault happens on the adrenal glands — destroying the outer layer of the glands.

Cancer is another — a bit less common — culprit along with long-term infections like histoplasmosis or blastomycosis. These infections have been directly linked to cases Addison’s disease.

Another less common culprit is a pituitary gland disease which causes it to not produce the hormone ACTH. This hormone is directly linked to cortisol production, and this gives you more insight into how an unbalanced hormone can mess up so many tiny things.

Types of Addison’s Disease

There are three main types of Addison’s disease: primary, secondary, and treatment-induced which a few other lesser known forms.

Primary Addison’s Disease

Primary Addison’s disease is characterized by the adrenal glands completely shutting down and no longer working. This is the most common form of Addison’s disease in dogs as it’s basically the destruction of the adrenal gland system.

Secondary Addison’s Disease

Above we discuss how hormones balance one another and when one goes it can unleash a domino effect. Secondary Addison’s disease happens when the hormone ACTH — produced in the pituitary gland — ceases which will cause a scarcity in cortisol production. This happens because ACTH signals the adrenal gland and tells it to produce cortisol.

Treatment-Induced Addison’s Disease

The rarest form of Addison’s disease is treatment-induced. Iatrogenic Addison’s disease is usually a result of poor steroid usage. When used for extended periods, steroids need to be slowly reduced as a rapid cut-off can produce negative side effects such as Addison’s disease. Steroids will boost hormone levels allowing the adrenal glands to become “lazy” and not produce hormones themselves.

When we see a drug causes side effects, it’s our instinct to immediately withdraw all use of the said drug. But as you can see above this can be very dangerous, much more so than the side effect that causes you to discontinue use. As always talk to your veterinarian before making changes in your dog’s drug dosage.

Breeds Prone To Addison’s Disease

We don’t currently know why, but a few dog breeds appear to be more prone to developing Addison’s disease:
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Bearded Collies
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
  • Rottweiler
  • Standard Poodles
  • Springer Spaniels: English Springer Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel

It’s important to remember that any dog can develop Addison’s disease, however certain breeds and females around age four are more at risk.

Symptoms and Clinical signs of Addison’s Disease In Dogs


Diagnosing Addison’s disease can be very tricky, but a dead giveaway is muscle weakness. This weakness is a direct result of dehydration due to a hormone imbalance so be on the lookout for that to help confirm the diagnosis. However, an increase of thirst and urination is also possible — though it’s more common to see these symptoms in Cushing’s disease.


Imagine having all the gastrointestinal issues at one: stomach pain, no appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea. It isn’t fun and that’s what can all happen at once to dogs with Addison’s disease.

More Symptoms:

In all cases, it’s important to know what’s normal behavior for your dog. Some dogs will hide their symptoms, and Addison’s disease symptoms are already tricky enough as is to diagnose.

How Stress Affects Addison’s Disease

One of the biggest clinical signs of Addison’s disease is stress. Both pet owners and their dogs produce cortisol to help regulate and quell stress, so what happens when the body can’t produce cortisol? It can exacerbate all the other symptoms of Addison’s.

Even on a good day, a healthy dog is probably going to stress out or get anxious about something in some way. It feels like everything freaks out dogs: traveling, leaving the house, loud noises, celebrations, other dogs and people, and let’s stop there.

As you can imagine this makes life very difficult and stressful for a dog who no longer can produce the hormone that regulates stress. But don’t get your hopes up yet.

Treating Stress With CBD

Because treatment for Addison’s will likely include prescription medication, we wanted to offer an anti-anxiety solution that you can get over-the-counter. As well, it’s all-natural and has a very safe side-effect profile.

You’ve likely heard about lately as both people and pets are finding out that it’s having a startling effect on their anxiety levels. CBD supports and extends a vital regulatory system that helps balance the perception of anxiety. Since Addison’s disease severely hinders a major component of stress regulation, it’s a good idea to reinforce and boost other stress regulators that will now be working overtime to compensate.

CBD treats for dogs that are already taking pills or other medications as it breaks up the monotony. As well, who doesn’t want to spoil their dog with a tasty treat that may improve their health?

Addisonian Crisis

In most cases, Addison’s disease will slowly sneak up on your dog. However, there is a rare chance it can rapidly appear with dangerous results. Acute adrenal failure, also known as an Addisonian crisis is the rapid onset of Addison’s. It can send your dog into shock and can be life-threatening. If you notice several of the following symptoms appear closely together — seemingly out of nowhere — immediately see emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of an Addisonian crisis dog:
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)
  • Dehydration
  • Delirium or lack of consciousness
  • Extreme weakness
  • Pain in the backend
  • Stomach pain — diarrhea and nausea

Diagnosing Addison’s Disease

Diagnosing dogs with Addison’s disease is not easy, and a series of tests are usually performed to narrow if Addison’s is the culprit. Addison’s symptoms mimic many other more common diseases. As such, the first series of tests your vet preforms will focus on ruling other more common diseases as Addison’s is tough to get a definitive diagnosis.

ACTH stimulation test

Once everything else has been checked off, an ACTH stimulation test is performed to confirm there is an issue with the adrenal glands. Above you read how the pituitary gland naturally produces adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH) to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. An ACTH stimulation test is an injection of ACTH which measures the degree to which the adrenal gland reacts when this test is performed.

As well, your vet may perform a dehydration test and will likely perform a blood test which will test for a number of imbalances:

Preventing Addison’s Disease

In most cases, there is little you can do to prevent Addison’s disease due to its genetic nature. However, Addison’s disease can be a result of a physical injury or drug-induced so we put together some helpful tips so you can keep your fur nugget safe.

Slowly Reduce Steroid Dosage

There are many reasons your vet may prescribe your dog steroids: pain, allergies, appetite stimulation, muscle weakness, adrenal insufficiency, etc. In most cases, steroids are only used short-term as long-term use greatly increases the risk of side effects. However, there are times when the extended use of them is required.

It is strongly recommended that you gradually reduce the steroid’s dosage over time, instead of dropping it cold turkey. Doing so can cause the adrenal glands to not fire back up to produce hormones since they were relying on the steroids to stimulate hormones.

Treatment for Addison’s Disease

While difficult to diagnose and potentially life-threatening, Addison’s disease is fairly easy to treat. So what are the available medication for Addison’s disease in dogs?

Well, there are two main drugs to choose from. Florinef (fludrocortisone) is the older of the two, however it is very effective. Even more effective is Percorten-V (DOCP) — it will require a steroid to achieve such however. Prednisone is typically the steroid prescribed, and we have a great article that will tell you all about the positives and negatives of prednisone.

Both drugs will hopefully achieve the same result, and that’s balancing your dog’s hormone levels. Your dog should be rechecked by your veterinarian 2-3 times a year to see if a change in dosage is needed.

If your dog is experiencing acute adrenal failure (Addisonian crisis), the emergency treatment protocol is administering intravenous fluid therapy which is typically a mixture of glucose and dexamethasone.

Managing Addison’s Disease in Dogs

While it can come as a big surprise to hear your dog diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-treating disease, Addison’s disease is easily managed in most dogs. You’ll want to use the tips we given and be aware of the symptoms as early diagnosing will translate into your dog having the best chance at a happy and healthy life. All in all, if you notice that not all is well with your pup, trust your instincts, and don’t wait to call your vet.

Fortunately, the hardest part in managing Addison’s is sticking to a constant regimen which in the beginning will be weekly blood tests. However, after their hormones have stabilized, blood tests will only need to be done 2-4 times a year.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to modern medicine, managing and treating Addison’s is very effective — which is wonderful to see as once it spelled a death sentence. As well, by using an all-natural remedy like CBD for stress, we can potentially extend our hand in helping our pets have a healthier life. At Innovetpet this is what we love to see — harmony between modern convention medications and all-natural remedies. Where one picks up the slack of the other. In CBD’s case, that’s extending the conventional medication used for Addison’s disease to also help with stress and anxiety.

This can make an already manageable disease even easier to treat. Remember, your most important job is to know the signs of Addison’s disease in dogs and immediately contact your veterinarian if you see them.


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Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease? [Fully Explained]

Advocates of CBD oil claim that it can help with a myriad of medical conditions, including Addison’s disease. But is there any truth behind these claims, or are they exaggerated?

While there is little research on CBD oil for Addison’s disease, there is a chance that it could help. However, it also has the potential to aggravate some symptoms, so it is necessary to exercise caution.

Here’s how CBD could influence Addison’s disease, along with the potential benefits and risks.

What Is Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands. It is also sometimes known as primary adrenal insufficiency.

The adrenals are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are responsible for secreting various hormones, including cortisol and aldosterone.

Cortisol is probably best known as a stress hormone. However, it also has many vital functions within the body. They include:

  • Regulating blood pressure and blood glucose
  • Controlling metabolism
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing alertness

Aldosterone’s primary role is maintaining the balance of water and electrolytes. It ensures that the body’s sodium and potassium levels remain healthy, and plays a role in blood pressure control.

In patients with Addison’s disease, the adrenal glands become damaged and stop releasing these two hormones. This is a potentially dangerous situation and causes a variety of symptoms.

Addison’s Disease Symptoms

The main symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramps
  • Mood changes (depression or irritability)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst
  • Cravings for salty food

In severe cases, Addison’s disease can also cause low blood pressure, which may lead to fainting. Furthermore, some patients may develop dark patches on their skin, lips, or gums.

People with Addison’s disease are also at risk of a condition called an adrenal crisis or Addisonian crisis. The symptoms of an adrenal crisis include:

  • Severe dehydration
  • Confusion
  • Pale, cold, clammy skin
  • Sudden pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness

An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. It requires immediate treatment, so patients with Addison’s disease should familiarize themselves with these symptoms and act fast if they occur.

What Causes Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease usually occurs due to an underlying autoimmune disorder. This means that the immune system becomes dysfunctional and starts attacking healthy tissue. In the case of Addison’s disease, the immune system attacks the outer layer of the adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex.

Nobody knows precisely what causes autoimmune disorders. However, scientists agree that a combination of environmental and genetic factors probably play a role.

Addison’s disease is more likely to occur in people who have another autoimmune disorder. It often occurs alongside an underactive thyroid or type 1 diabetes. The condition is most prevalent in women and usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50.

In some cases, Addison’s disease may be the result of an infection like tuberculosis or HIV. However, this is uncommon in economically developed countries.

Conventional Addison’s Disease Treatments (Not CBD)

With the correct treatment, people with Addison’s disease can live a long and fulfilling life.

However, they will need to take medication to replace the hormones that their adrenal glands cannot produce. These include corticosteroids like hydrocortisone or prednisolone to replace cortisol. Meanwhile, a drug called fludrocortisone can help to replace aldosterone.

It is essential to take these medicines at the right time every day to keep the body functioning effectively. Patients may need to increase their dosage in times of physical stress. For example, during an illness or before an operation. Doing this reduces the risk of adrenal crisis.

Although natural remedies like CBD cannot reverse Addison’s disease, they may help to manage certain symptoms. However, there are also some precautions to be aware of when using CBD for any chronic illness. Here’s all you need to know.

Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease?

With more people now turning to CBD, it is essential to understand how it might impact Addison’s disease.

Sadly, there is currently no research specifically on CBD and Addison’s disease. However, there have been some studies on how CBD affects autoimmune disorders in general.

One such study came out in 2008, in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology. It investigated the impact of CBD on immune function, with exciting results. It found that CBD suppressed immune function, potentially making it viable as a treatment for autoimmune conditions.

Other studies have found that CBD and marijuana may have positive effects on type 1 diabetes and thyroid function, respectively.

There is also research suggesting that the body’s endocannabinoid system has a significant influence over the endocrine system. This includes the pancreas, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. Since the endocannabinoid system is where CBD exerts many of its actions, it could have some beneficial effects.

However, it is crucial to note that most of the studies involved animals or cell lines in a laboratory. Until more research emerges, there is no proof that human studies would have the same positive results.

Using CBD Oil for Addison’s Disease: Benefits and Risks

The potential benefits of CBD oil for Addison’s disease include its positive effects on the immune and endocrine systems. However, patients must weigh these benefits carefully against the risks before deciding to proceed.

Although most experts consider CBD to be safe, it can cause side effects in some people. These side effects include:

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Since these are issues that already affect people with Addison’s disease, there is a chance CBD could make them worse. There is also a risk that CBD could interact with other medications due to the way the liver processes the compound.

However, CBD might help with certain other Addison’s disease symptoms, such as mood disorders, muscle cramps, and nausea. There are also anecdotal reports that people who take CBD oil feel an increased sense of general wellbeing.

Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to say for sure whether the benefits of CBD oil for Addison’s disease outweigh its risks. Therefore, anyone wishing to try it should consult their physician first and make a decision based on their individual needs.

Does CBD Oil Help Addison’s Disease? Final Thoughts

The question of whether CBD oil can help Addison’s disease does not have a straightforward answer. On the one hand, it could help by suppressing the immune system to slow down damage to the adrenal glands. It may also help to regulate hormonal release through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system.

However, CBD can have side effects, and some are similar to the symptoms of Addison’s disease. Therefore, there is a chance that people could take CBD oil and end up feeling worse.

Until more research on CBD oil for Addison’s disease comes to light, we can only guess at its precise effects. We hope we can provide a more definitive answer soon. Until then, find a knowledgeable doctor to discuss the benefits and risks of CBD oil for Addison’s disease, and follow their advice.