My Westie had Addison's Disease

In February 2003 I obtained Kacey, a West Highland White Terrier from a breeder located in Kit Carson, Colorado. Unfortunately, in March 2005, Kacey died of Addison's disease. We originally diagnosed her with Addison's disease in May 2004. Addison's disease results when the adrenal gland fails to produce adrenal hormones. Addison's disease is genetic and typically does not reveal itself for several years.

The onset of the disease in my westie was sudden and it developed unusually early in her life. The actual time-line was very short. On Friday night, she began shaking. Saturday we noticed that she was not eating or drinking. Sunday morning Kacey collapsed. We rushed her to the veterinarian where they put her on fluids and began tests. The veterinarian performed blood tests and noticed her electrolytes were out of balance. The veterinarian also discovered that Kacey's potassium levels were unusually high. After performing some tests, it was determined that she had Addison's disease. We treated her by giving her fludrocortisone acetate orally twice each day.

In December 2004, Kacey developed a food allergy, which was irritating her skin. We changed her food from Lamb and Rice to Potato and Rabbit. Unfortunately, we failed to realize that potatoes are high in potassium. The extra potassium combined with the stress from the skin problem caused her to relapse into an Addison's crisis. Saturday night she began to shake and the next day she experienced heart arrhythmia, which turned out to be fatal.

I will never forget our little westie friend who has left us with many fond memories. Although, she became very sick, the majority of her life was normal and full of fun. It did take awhile after the first Addison's crisis for her to become herself again. Although I am very sad that she is gone, I am glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with with a little dog who had so much love to give.

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