Case Study on Endocrine Disorders

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“Jade” T, a Portuguese Water Dog (PWD), first experienced health problems at 5 months of age. She had developed the atypical form of Addison’s disease, an inherited autoimmune disorder known to occur in this breed, and caused by progressive immunologic destruction of the adrenal glands. At the same time she experienced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) either as a result of the Addison’s condition or separately.  At 18 months of age, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which often accompanies Addison’s disease in affected people and dogs, in a combination called polyglandular endocrinopathy or Schmidt’s syndrome.  

She was on prednisone at the time for her Addison’s diseases and IBD, but after thyroxine medication was added, it didn’t seem to help with her coat loss.  Jade’s veterinarian believed that she was experiencing the congenital disorder of PWDs where they lose their hair, akin to the condition called alopecia-X from adrenal sex steroid overproduction. But, Jade’s guardian didn’t think that was true because she had a wavy coat and that disorder tends to affects curly coated dogs.  

To avoid the side effects of long term steroid use, Jade was slowly weaned off prednisone and put on budesonide, a steroid that only acts within the bowel and not systemically. Prednisone can also interfere with the uptake and regulation of thyroid hormone.

After 3-4 months on the budesonide and thyroxine, she had most of her hair back. It took almost a year before she needed a haircut, which was the first time since she was about 1.5 years old! She is now 4 years old and her coat, energy and health are much better. The photos below tell her story.

• Prednisone to treat both IBD and Atypical Addison’s disease in May
• Hypothyroidism diagnosed at 18 months, about a year later (test run by Hemopet’s Hemolife Diagnostics Division)
• Thyroxine added in August, that following year

• She received both Prednisone and Budesonide in order to wean off of Prednisone
• Prednisone seemed to interfere with her ability to absorb the thyroid medication

• After being off Prednisone for several months Jade’s hair grew back.
• Jade had more energy and gained weight.

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