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title:   Addison's Disease                                                          ID:  6
author:   many
description:   Addison's Disease
content:   Addison's Disease (MRS VALERIE S SHINGLEDECKER)
Thu, 30 May 1996 10:50:00, -0500


Bramble, our first Berner, is a 9.5 yr old neutered male. He has a two yr history of elevated BUN and Creatine which is stabilized by feeding a low protein diet. Recently, he lost 12 pounds, became lethargic and started dripping blood from his penis. Well, after lots of testing, he was diagnosed yesterday with Addison's disease. A prostate work up is still being done as we are trying to determine whether the blood is due to an infection or a malignancy - should know in about a week.

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with Addison's disease? It's a new one to me. I know it's a malfunction of the adrenal glands (on the kidneys) and is genetic in some breeds. Are there other Berners out there with it? Is this something else we need to worry about?

Therapy is expensive, but prognosis is good. We will wait until we know how the prostate is. Once a month shots are about $70 - 100 each time. Yeesh!

Looking for any advice you guys can give me.

Val Shingledecker & Bramble (I wish they'd stop poking me in those embarrassing places!)


RE: Addison's Disease
30 May 96 13:15:52 EDT

Hi Val,
How's the Specialty coming along. This is "that blonde skinny veterinarian" from the San Mateo specialty who was confused about the Estes Park roon rates.

Re: Your post on Brambles, Addison's disease, and questions

Hmmmmm, the diagnosis of Addison's disease in a 9.5 year old dog is a bit odd and concerning. Usually, the illness is detected much younger, but this is not out of the question. The disease is a situation where the adrenal glands--two small organs that sit high in the cranial abdomen in front of the kidney are malfunctioning. The adrenal glands are part of the body's endocrine (hormonal) system and each has two regions--the inner medulla and the outer cortex. The medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine--the "fight or flight" hormones that people refer to as adrenaline. The cortex produces glucocorticoid hormone s
with wide reaching effects throughout the body on metabolic processes; mineralocorticoid hormones which control sodium, potassium, and water balance; and--let's not forget--the sex hormones. Addison's disease, more correctly termed hypoadrenocorticism, is a dysfunction and inadequate secretion activity of the adrenal cortex--and can be life threatening. Hypoadrenocorticism is an uncommon disease in the dog, with no increased incidence known in Bernese Mountain Dogs, and typically results from immune-mediated self destruction of the gland. This tends to happen early in life (mean age of diagnosis is about 4.5 years), but other diseases such as cancer, fungal infections, tuberculosis, infarction (loss of bloodsupply due to a blood clot blocking the vessel), or amyloidosis--a degenerative disease--can be causative. With the blood coming from the penis and the concern for prostatic disease in your dog, I'm sure your veterinarian is pursuing the possibility of metastatic cancer from the prostate to the adrenal glands in the testing plans. I'm hoping that is not the case. I AM concerned, however, how the diagnosis was made, Val. Do you have access t o
all the tests and their results? I would want to be absolutely certain of the diagnosis, because, yes--it is expensive to treat, and also because treatment involves us humans messing with the hormone system in the body which is so intricately regulated. Not something you want to set into imbalance by treatin g
something that doesn't exist. I'd never suggest that your veterinarian is wrong--but there are several diseases that can mimic hypoadrenocorticism and it pays to be careful.
If the diagnosis is correct--then you are very lucky, to have a dog with chroni c
lowgrade symptoms. Most of the patients I've seen and treated have presented i n
a near death crisis. Congratulate Brambles on handling his health matters in such a level headed fashion !!!

Let me know if I can be of any further help, and also if there is anything you would like me to do, or veterinary speakers you might want me to contact to speak at the '97 Specialty.
Laurel S. Cain, DVM (dogidoc)


BERNER-L Digest 328

Bramble: Addison's & Prostate Cancer (MRS VALERIE S SHINGLEDECKER)
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 11:28:52, -0500

Hi gang,

Well, the news isn't good. Bramble's prostatic wash indicates cancer, most likely transitional cell or adenocarcinoma (?), after he's gone we'll do a biopsy to find out.

I know he's 9.5 years, but I cried all the way home. My daughter, Kelsey was with me and I tried not to cry since she's only 4.5 yrs, but it didn't work. We will treat him for the Addison's to keep him more comfortable, but there's nothing to do about the prostate. Average life expectancy is 3 months. He's got some blood coming from the penis, so it's just a matter of time before the urethra is blocked completely - that will be the limiting factor.

His diagnosis of Addison's was right on the money - there's a "stress" test that's done. What is hard to tell, is what the cause is (vet indicates that spread from the cancer is unlikely to cause Addison's and MD hubby agrees) and if it is both glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid or just one or the other. The response from all of you was that no one else had encountered it in BMD's so I guess it's not "in" the breed.

Well, I'm going to sign off now and go love my dog. I'll keep you posted as to his progress. Paul took him fishing yesterday - one of his favorite things to do. Bramble loves to look for the fish in the water. I wonder if Rowdy will sleep by my side of the bed after Bramble's gone. Got to go - tears are coming again.

Val Shingledecker & Bramble (my first and best Berner!!!!)


BERNER-L Digest 765

Finding a Berner
"Pat Nelson"
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 22:35:29 -0400

Hello! I've been lurking and reading and felt it was time I introduced myself. I have a 15-month old Berner male, Bandit, whom I love dearly and plan to show in obedience (AKC, CKC, and UKC). I also have a matronly English Shepherd who is my current obedience dog and who keeps Bandit under her paw.

I received a call recently from a woman who had just lost her 12-year-old Berner to Addison's disease. The vet who referred her to me knew that I have a Berner and had lost an Akita to Addison's, so I guess the referral made sense. I have two questions, though, and a comment. First, are there any Canadian breeders in the Cornwall or Prestcott areas? We are much closer to Canada than to any of the US breeders whose names I gave her, and she would like to visit without a very long journey.

Second, is Addison's common in Berners or is it just a fluke that I should hear about one of my new breed dying of the disease that killed the dog of my old breed? I won't say that Addison's is exactly my worst nightmare, but I'd like that particular sore spot to develop some scar tissue before it gets lacerated again!

The comment is that I've been reading the thread about advertising or not, and the abundance or otherwise of Berners and don't recognize my own area in any of them. When I got Bandit, a number of people who should have known better (vets and such) told me how nervous and shy Berners were and that I would have real problems ever training him. Having done my homework, I didn't believe them, but I started asking why they thought that. It turns out that all the bad Berner stories came from one shy individual. He and the recently deceased twelve-year-old (who I gather was a much more typical Berner) and now Bandit, are the only Berners anyone in this area had ever seen. This means that we don't have to worry about backyard breeders and puppy mills, but it also means that one individual can do disproportionate damage to the reputation of the breed.

Pat Nelson & Bandit (and Babe, the English Shepherd) Potsdam, NY


BERNER-L Digest 940

Addison's Disease
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 20:59:17 -0700

Addison's disease is a deficiency of the adrenal glands. It's uncommon, and is mostly seen in young to middle age female dogs. Some clinical signs may include:
Lethargy/depression (95% of cases)
Anorexia (90% of cases)
Vomiting (75% of cases)
Weakness (75% of cases
Weight loss (50% of cases)
Dehydration (45% of cases)
Diarrhea (40% of cases)
Waxing-waning course (40% of cases)
Collapse (35% of cases)

And the list goes on. It's difficult to diagnose, mostly because these clinical signs can be seen in a lot of other diseases, and the clinical signs can vary so much. There are acute cases and chronic cases. In the acute phase you see weakness, depression, collapse and shock. This is an emergency. Addison's can affect the heart because of an increase in serum potassium, resulting in heart abnormalities (arrhythmias) (50% of cases).

Anyway, I suppose I should introduce myself. I just joined the list yesterday, and I really did mean to lurk for a while longer, but I just can't resist trying to answer health related questions:) My name is Angela Hoskinson, I live in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), and I'm graduating in May in Animal Health Technology. I joined this list because I've decided it's time for a new puppy, and a Bernese Mountain Dog is a major contender. The trouble is, there are so many breeders out there, and I'm searching for the perfect one. Right now I have a 15 month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever name Dirk who is very lonely without a pack. I want to get a show dog so I can show, but I'm not sure if any top breeders would be too excited about selling their best to someone who's never shown before. Well, I look forward to learning more about Bernese Mountain Dogs. I'm pretty excited about it. As an aside, has anyone ever met a Kuvasz? If so, what was your impression?


BERNER-L Digest 1321

Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 12:33:10 -0400
From: "Pat Nelson" (
To: "BMD Mailing List" (
Subject: re:leftover testosterone

Hi Andrea-
Thanx for your input. As you know,. I am a clicker trainer, so handling the behavior itself was not what was concerning me -- it's a pain, but I can work with it. I was really wondering whether I needed to worry about any physical problems. I'm an experienced dog owner, but he's my first Berner and I wondered if he was just late maturing.

The first sign I had of trouble with my three year old Akita was occasional dog aggression that got more and more frequent. Everyone I talked to said "Oh, that's just how Akitas are" and
I was working on it behaviorally -- until I went to Don't Shoot the Dog II. I asked Gary Wilkes if he had any suggestions and he said "yes, see a canine neurologist pronto!" This was at the end of May two years ago. I took his advice and took Shinto to Cornell where they kept him eleven days and finally diagnosed atypical Addison's disease. The disease caused seizures which caused the aggression. Unfortunately, we caught it too late and he died shortly after he came home.

I still can't even write this without tears -- my poor baby was so sick and I was just working on the behavior. Needless to say, seeing Bandit start to show more aggression (although his pattern is quite different from Shinto's) has me paranoid. That's why I asked the list.

Pat Nelson, Babe the English Shepherd (oh,mom, he's just being a boy) & Bandit the Berner (hold still while I lick those tears off) Potsdam, NY
date:   30-Sep-2003

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