Taking a closer look at atypical Addison’s

How to spot the great pretender

The West Highland white terrier is one of the breeds genetically predisposed to Addison's disease (HOC). Photo courtesy Samantha Ashenhurst.
 Dogs with “classic” hypoadrenocorticism (HOC), aka Addison’s disease, manifest clinical signs reflecting deficiencies in both cortisol and aldosterone. These patients are relatively easily identified, often based on predictable electrolyte derangements. However, we are now increasingly recognizing a subset of dogs with hypoadrenocorticism, but normal electrolytes.1-3 Clinical signs in these patients reflect hypocortisolemia only, and are often subtler and more insidious. This condition is referred to as glucocorticoid deficient HOC (GDHOC) or “atypical” Addison’s/hypoadrenocorticism (AHOC).

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