While we obviously hope your doggo never has to, removing canine adrenal glands is sometimes necessary, but the good news is, most dogs with successful surgeries are able to live long, normal, and happy lives.
Adrenal glands are important organs. Located just in front of the kidneys, these glands are super tiny, but they play an important role - regulating your doggo's hormones!
This plays a giant role in your dog's homeostatic balance. The adrenal glands have two parts, the outer cortex and the inner medulla, and while they work together, their functions are a bit different. Sometimes, your dog can develop adrenal cancer or adrenal diseases like Cushings and Addisons, and because of this, they may have to have an adrenalectomy, or rather, a surgical removal of their adrenal glands.
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Signs Your Dog May Be Having Trouble WIth Their Adrenal Glands
Keeping a close eye on your dog's signs and body language cues are going to be vital when it comes to determining their adrenal health. Keep a look out for things like polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia (fancy words for increased urinating, thirst, and hunger). You may also notice that your dog has weaker muscles, atrophy of the extremities, swayback, weight loss, skin lesions, and behavior changes. Some of these can include poor sleeping and bad sleep-wake cylces, lethargy, panting, and a lack of interest in interacting with their owners.
- Increase of Heart Rate
- Lack of Appetite
- Bloated Abdomen
- Muscle Loss
- Weight Loss
- Increased Thirst, Urination, and Hunger
Historical Causes of Adrenal Gland Failure
Typically, environmental factors don't really play a part in adrenal gland issues, so it's hard for owners to help prevent it. Instead, adrenal tumors and cancers seem to be far more common in large dogs, and seem to be especially common in females.
Unfortunately, though, it also has a lot to do with fate. Sometimes, prolonged use of coritco-steroids can cause adrenal failure in dogs. Additionally, auto-immune diseases and tumors in the pituitary gland can be to blame, too.
The Science Behind Adrenal Glands
The Medulla is the inner part of the gland that produces a few non-essential hormones, aka, the ones you don't need to for life - like adrenaline. When an adrenalectomy has to take place, it's typically because your dog has a tumor or disease that's affecting how he regulates his hormones or is making him sick.
How to Train Your Dog to Deal With Adrenal Issues
First things first, your vet will likely need you to give your dog special medicine, so it's important your pooch is trained to take his pills without issue. Depending on your pup's personality, it might be helpful to implement a throw-and-catch game with his pills. You also could train him to take the pill gently out of your hand like a treat, or simply put it in his food to eat.
If your dog does have to undergo adrenal gland removal surgery, it's important to make certain adaptations while he heals. For example, make sure your dog doesn't lick his wounds, ensure he's spending most of his day resting and taking it easy, and avoid all stress if possible. Keeping him away from his sutures and calm and relaxed are likely the most important parts of his recovery.
How to React if You Think Your Dog Has Adrenal Gland Issues
Consult your vet immediately.
With the vet's go-ahead, discontinue corticosteroid use.
Work with your vet to develop a proper medicine regiment.
Work with your vet to develop a proper diet and exercise regiment.
Minimize exposure to toxins - plastics, pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Consult your vet about licorice root for your dog's glands.