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Brinkley, an 11 year old Springer Spaniel, had been increasingly lethargic and off his food for the previous 10 days, and more recently had shown occasional signs of back pain. Because of the history of back pain, Brinkley was referred by his usual veterinary surgeon to one of Willows' neurology Specialists.
Clinical examination revealed that Brinkley had subtle neurological signs which the neurologist believed could be the result of a metabolic abnormality known as Addison's disease. This suspicion was confirmed by subsequent blood tests.
Addison's disease is a condition of the adrenal glands – two small glands located near the kidneys which produce the body's natural steroid hormones. In Addison's disease the glands produce less steroid than they should, and this has detrimental effects on many organs including the brain, heart, muscle, stomach and intestines.
After the diagnosis had been made, specific treatment was started and Brinkley's condition was much improved within a few days. Unfortunately, three weeks later he took a turn for the worse, when he started vomiting and showing signs of acute abdominal pain. Repeat blood tests showed that, although his treatment dose needed a slight adjustment, this was not enough to explain his new symptoms. An ultrasound scan was performed, and this demonstrated the presence of a large stomach (gastric) ulcer which was likely to have been a consequence of his Addison’s disease. Additional medication for the gastric ulcer was added to Brinkley's treatments and, happily, he has continued to improve.
This ultrasound image shows a cross-sectional image through the gastric ulcer. The central ulcer crater is surrounded by thickened, inflamed stomach wall.