Addison’s Disease – Genetics Study in Standard Poodles

White Standard Poodle

Addison’s disease (also referred to as primary hypoadrenocorticism) is an immune-mediated disease in dogs and humans in which the body attacks the outer layer of the adrenal glands. This leads to a deficiency in key hormones (cortisol and aldosterone) which regulate responses to stress and water/electrolyte balance. Dogs often present with waxing and waning gastrointestinal signs, a finicky appetite, or generalized lethargy. In some cases, dogs present to veterinarians in a shock state, which can be life-threatening if the signs of Addison’s disease are not recognized promptly. Therapy for Addison’s disease is available, but requires lifelong commitment by owners with hormone replacement therapy (typically a monthly injection and daily pills).

Study Goals

Drs. Steven Friedenberg at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Leigh Anne Clark at Clemson University are working to identify genetic risk factors for Addison’s disease in Portuguese Water Dogs and Standard Poodles, which are very highly related breeds. Our goal is to use this research to better understand the disease mechanism and disease triggers, and to develop a test that can help breeders decrease the incidence of the disease.

Enrollment criteria

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Affected Standard Poodles

  • Any age with a diagnosis of Addison’s disease
  • Documentation of the diagnosis with an ACTH stimulation test and an abnormal serum sodium:potassium ratio
  • Your willingness to volunteer a blood sample from your dog for genetics research
  • International submissions are welcome

Unaffected Standard Poodles

  • Minimum of 8 years of age
  • No history of Addison’s disease, or any other autoimmune disease
  • Your willingness to volunteer a blood sample from your dog for genetics research
  • Samples accepted primarily from the US and Canada due to sample shipping requirements, however samples from other countries may be accepted on a case-by-case basis

About the Investigator

Dr. Steven Friedenberg with poodle

Dr. Steven Friedenberg is a board-certified veterinary critical care specialist and a geneticist, and he is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He earned his veterinary degree at Cornell University, completed his residency at The Ohio State University, and holds a PhD in genetics from North Carolina State University. He is passionate about studying canine Addison’s disease, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, and other autoimmune diseases. He also is interested in developing novel bioinformatics and immunologic tools for the canine scientific community.