Addison’s disease (hypoadrenacortism) is caused by failure of the ADRENAL GLANDS to produce adequate amounts of corticosteroids. It may be caused by congenital defects in, injury to, or disease of the cortex of the gland, when it is known as primary hypoadrenocorticism. Secondary hypoadrenocorticism results from excessive or prolonged dosage of an animal with cortisone products, which depresses the natural production of the hormone.
In the dog or cat, where it most commonly occurs, the animal may be lethargic, depressed and weak; diarrhea and vomiting may be seen. In severe cases left untreated, death may result.
In cattle, it is associated with a high incidence of aborted, weakly or still-born calves.
The condition responds rapidly to administration of hydrocortisone or other appropriate corticoid product to restore levels of cortisol in the blood; numerous formulations are available.