Aldosterone is the most important mineralocorticoid produced by canine adrenal glands. Aldosterone helps balance water and potassium, and helps regulate sodium. Lack of aldosterone can cause Addison's disease in your dog. If your dog has an aldosterone deficiency, you may notice the dog experiencing physical symptoms such as weakness, lack of appetite, gauntness, diarrhea and vomiting.
Role of Aldosterone
Steroids are the main hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Mineralocorticoids are among of the two major classes of steroids, and within thmineralocorticoids class, aldosterone is the main hormone. Aldosterone plays a major role in regulating potassium, sodium and water balance. The release of aldosterone is controlled mainly by the potassium levels of the blood and by the renin-angiotensin system.
Effects of Aldosterone
Decreased aldosterone production by the adrenal glands can affect dogs of any breed. Female dogs are more prone to the condition than males. Persistently low aldosterone levels can have serious effects that result in the development of Addison's disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism.
Symptoms of Aldosterone Deficiency
Symptoms of decreased levels of aldosterone in the system and possible signs of development of Addison's disease may appear and disappear over an extended period of time. Common symptoms are gastrointestinal upset, weakness and lethargy. Clinical signs include increased thirst, shaking, trembling, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, depression, thin body condition, polyuria, weakness, diarrhea and collapse. Visit your dog's veterinarian immediately or seek medical attention at an animal hospital if your dog is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms.
Addison's disease is the syndrome that results from the adrenal gland's failure to produce steroid hormones. Veterinarians conduct a complete blood count, a urinalysis and a biochemistry profile to determine whether Addison's disease is present in your dog. An outcome of an adrenal gland function test, referred to as the ACTH stimulation test, will result in a definitive diagnosis of Addison's disease. The disease can be maintained with proper medical treatment and communication between owner and veterinarian.