Addison's Incidences

Information provided by Else Sell, PWDCA Health Information Coordinator

The following incidence figures were put together in 2007 in response to posts in October 2007 on PWDCA-L regarding Addison's disease. 

Things To Be Aware of:

  1. What really upsets an owner is when a breeder denies that Addison's exists in their line - often to the detriment of the dog (and owner) while they fumble their way with the vets in trying to establish a diagnosis, the dog suffers, and the costs mount. On occasion the dog dies (often with a diagnosis of "renal failure").
  2. So, if you have a dog with some of the non-specific signs of Addison's (poor eating, weight loss, weakness, diarrhea, waxing and waning of symptoms), tell your vet that Addison's disease exists in PWDs and discuss testing for it.
  3. Most dogs with Addison's disease can be managed well and lead quality and lengthy lives, even participating in vigorous performance venues.
  4. The Addison's internet lists (moderated) are: 
  5. Some Addisonian dogs will have other endocrinopathies, the most common one being hypothyroidism - made before or after the Addison's diagnosis.
    • This is a phenomenon well known in humans as Schmidt’s disease (other synonyms – polyglandular autoimmne syndrome type II, polyglandular deficiency syndrome type II, multiple endocrine deficiency syndrome type II). Affected endocrine glands can include the adrenal, thyroid, gonads, pancreas (insulin), parathyroid.
    • In dogs, the combination of endocrine disorders is also called Schmidt’s or APS-2 (autoimmune polyglandular syndrome). Although the condition has been documented in the PWD, the incidence is not known.
  6. Some Addisonian dogs are well managed on fluorinef (oral pills). Many who were unstable on that drug do remarkably better on the approximately monthly shot – Percorten™-V. Owners have said that not only did the chemical imbalances disappear, but also the dog's personality was much better or a return to the "normal" for that dog. Treatment is costly in any case. Fluorinef is used in humans - Percorten™-V is not.

Summary of Addison's Incidence in PWD from Various Sources

Source # Addison's/Total % Addison's Other
Eighth Health Registry 28/799 3.5% All 28 are in HLD & 25/28 are listed as having Addison's none of these were in the ninth registry
Ninth Health Registry 6/1018 0.6% All 6 are in the HLD and 4/6 are listed as having Addison's none of these were in the eighth registry
HLD (current) 115/? ? It is unclear from the HLD just how many dogs are in (and not just from registry imports), so this couldn’t be calculated
2005 Health Survey 60/1700 3.5%  
Georgie Project (AKC CHF Grants # 589A and 589B* 110/1200 9.2% Numbers taken from Georgie project web site
UC Davis Addison's Program (AKC CHF Grant # 225)** 103/804 12.8% Numbers taken from published paper
PWDCA Endocrine Committee     No numbers presented in committee reports

* It is highly likely that the incidence of Addison's for these two sources is higher than that of the general population of PWDs because research projects garner more support from those affected. The incidence for the Georgia project is taken from information on the Georgie project web site. Chase et al. published a paper on two genotypes related to onset of Addison’s disease.  The reference:

**The incidence for the UC Davis Addison's project is taken from the paper published by Dr. Oberbauer (BioMed Central Veterinary Research 2006; 2: 15).  An interesting finding in the Oberbauer paper related to the degree of inbreeding and incidence of Addison's:

Coefficient of Inbreeding Addisonian Cases
0-5 11/205 (5.4%)
5-10 8/95 (8.3%)
10-15 15/70 (21.4%)
>15 5/23 (21.7%

The authors state that this result is consistent with the other data shown in a table - in that inbreeding increases homozygosity, and a disease that is strongly influenced by a segregating recessive locus should see an increased incidence among a cluster of inbred animals.

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