Wisconsin German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue

GSPs With Addison's Disease

Note: All GSPs pictured on this page have Addison’s disease and are either owned or have been fostered and adopted out by WGSPR President, Terri.

GSPs With Addison's Disease

What Is Addison's Disease?

Addison?s Disease is a chronic endocrine system disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient hormones required to sustain life.

GSP’s are one of may breeds and mixes affected by Addison?s Disease.

With proper medication, dogs with Addison?s thrive, living long, healthy lives doing anything other dogs can do, such as agility, serving as therapy dogs, & all the activities they were bred to do.

Treatment is both manageable & affordable. Canine Addison’s Resources & Education (CARE) is available to help you learn all you need to know.


The symptoms of Addison’s Disease are sometimes vague, look like many other diseases, & may include any of those listed below. You may not see all of these symptoms. You might get the sense that something is just not right with your dog and yet, you can’t quite put your finger on it. Symptoms may wax & wane over a period of months or years. Addison’s is often misdiagnosed as renal failure or other diseases & is known as “The Great Pretender.”

  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, sometimes with blood in the feces
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Frequent drinking or urination
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Collapse
  • Low Heart Rate

Diagnosis and Treatment

The only definitive test for diagnosing Addison’s Disease is the ACTH stimulation test, which is typically accompanied by a blood profile. A dog who is deficient in cortisol only, needs a daily glucocorticoid replacement, such as Prednisone. The blood profile of a dog who is deficient in both cortisol & aldosterone will show reduced sodium & increased potassium. If the high potassium is not treated before it gets too high, it will be fatal. Fortunately, serious symptoms typically occur, alerting you to the problem before this happens. At diagnosis, IV fluids are often administered to balance these electrolytes, bringing the sodium up & the potassium down. This type of Addison’s is treated with either a monthly shot of Percorten plus a daily glucocorticoid or with daily Florinef tablets.

Addison's Disease Resources


Veterinarians may contact Dr. Julies Bates to discuss Canine Addison’s treatment. Dr. Bates is a great friend of the Canine Addison’s community & has graciously donated countless hours of her time, discussing Addison’s treatment with numerous veterinarians around the world.

Link to abstract of a published study about low dose Percorten by Dr. Julia Bates:”Lower initial dose desoxycorticosterone pivalate for treatment of canine primary hypoadrenocorticism” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/avj.12019/abstract.

If you have a dog with Canine Addison’s & are fortunate enough to live near Madison, Wisconsin, we highly recommend making an appointment to see Dr. Bates at Madison Veterinary Specialists, 229 Beltline Highway, Madison, Wi 53713. Phone: 608-274-7772. http://www.mvsvets.com/

Does your dog have Addisons?

Dr. Bates is located in Madison