Cloe’s Near Death Experience with Canine Addition’s Shock

by Jo Ann McNicholas
(Warwick, NY)

My 6-year-oldAiredale went into Addison's Shock and when I rushed her to the vet, her heart rate was 40. This came upon her very suddenly, and within 48 hours, she was nearly dead.

Thanks to the vet that saved her, but, I was a little dismayed when I asked him what caused her to collapse. He had very little to offer me in that regard. His first response was to ask me if the dog had been poisoned, to which I replied that the only poisons in my house were the ones he had sold me to control fleas. I used one tube on her and she seemed to be a little listless for a day or two, but she recovered. I threw the stuff away and vowed to never use it again.

I noticed that when I ran my hand down Cleo's back to pet her, she would start scratching, even if the pressure of my hand was very slight. I now know that that was a sign of the onset of Addison's...hyper-sensitive skin. She had been eating a commercial dog food that had corn products in them, and after more research, I discovered that the diet was NOT good for her.

After she was diagnosed, I asked the vet if I should change her diet, but, he said he did not know if that would help or not. Because she would not eat, I made a stew of organic brown rice, carrots, chicken broth, oats, green beans and potatoes, which she gobbled down almost immediately. Now I feed her organic
"people grade food" that I make for her and she is thriving.

My goal is to get her off of modern pharmaceuticals and hopefully she will get better with time. Pay attention to your dogs, please. Although they cannot speak, their actions speak volumes about how they feel.

Vet Comment Regarding Addison’s Disease and Dog Food Diet Change

Hello Jo Ann,

Your dog is certainly lucky to have such a dedicated owner fighting for her well-being! I agree with you that high quality nutrition is essential to a pet’s well-being. Please make sure that your dog’s home-prepared diet is nutritionally complete. Veterinary nutritionists (available through many veterinary schools or services such as and can formulate nutritionally balanced recipes using the ingredients you want to feed your dog. Dietary deficiencies and excesses are very common in home prepared diets. Their adverse effects often take months or even longer to become apparent but can be very severe.

I am concerned that you mentioned getting your dog that has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease and that you want her “off of modern pharmaceuticals.” Unless her Addison’s disease was caused by the sudden withdrawal of corticosteroid medications (e.g., prednisone), she will require medical treatment for the rest of her life. Idiopathic Addison’s disease results from the adrenal glands’ inability to produce mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid hormones. Your dog must receive these hormones either orally or by injection (e.g., through treatment with fludrocortisone acetate or Percorten-V and occasionally predinose) or she will surely suffer another potentially life-threatening Addisonian crisis like the one you described.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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