Are veterinarians “stupid” for not diagnosing Addison’s disease in dogs?

Michael Dole, owner of the website Addison’s Disease Breakthrough, wrote an article that caught my attention; he called veterinarians “stupid” for, amongst other things, being responsible for inflicting “useless” and inaccurate tests to bilk owners of Addisonian dogs for money. Are veterinarians really milking clients for money?

How to Diagnose Addison’s Disease
I didn’t have to look much further than, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centers and WebMD, all of which say that even in humans, Addison’s disease is incredibly difficult to diagnose. Multiply that difficulty by ten for dogs. If a person is vomiting, they can tell you if they:

  1. ate at a suspicious Chinese buffet recently
  2. ate some egg salad that had been in the fridge for several weeks
  3. none of the above.

A person with Addison’s disease who is vomiting would be able to tell a doctor that he didn’t eat any suspicious food and that he doesn’t have a stomach ache. A dog can’t speak to tell you if they got in the trash the night before, or if they sneakily swallowed a raw piece of chicken from the kitchen counter. They can’t tell you if they feel lethargic, and they can’t tell you that their legs feel weak. Is it any wonder that the symptoms of Addison’s disease are difficult to categorize? You can find a discussion of canine Addison’s disease symptoms in this article on the Addison’s in Dogs website, but they include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and a slow heart rate (bradycardia). All of those symptoms are also indicative of viral gastroenteritis and a host of other diseases.

It seems to me that if we’re going to say that that veterinarians are “stupid” for not diagnosing Addison’s disease, then we would have to state that about physicians as well. The real story is that Addison’s disease is a difficult and elusive creature to pin down, and until we get better diagnostic tools (for humans and canines!) then expensive (and sometimes unnecessary) tests are unfortunately the only method we have for catching the “Great Pretender.”

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