Canine Addison’s Disease: What is a mineralcorticoid?Posted: September 7, 2009
Mineralocorticoids are hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex that regulate salt and water balance in the body. Mineralcorticoid deficiency (as seen in canine Addison’s disease) leads to high potassium levels, low salt levels, and poor heart function. Aldosterone has major mineralcorticoid activity in the body but cortisol also plays a minor part.
Canine Addison’s disease occurs because of a deficiency of aldosterone, often in conjunction with loss of glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are responsible for the stress response; without glucocorticoids, your dog will be unable to deal with stressors, which could be fatal. A loss of aldosterone — the principal steroid with mineralcorticoid activity — is aldosterone. Without aldosterone, your dog will experience physical effects from increased sodium loss in urine, a loss of fluids and an increase in potassium, affecting the heart. In addition, aldosterone effects the ability of the sweat glands, salivary glands and the colon to work properly.
All of these symptoms can be largely prevented with replacement of salts and mineralcorticoids, such as through treatment with Percorten V or Florinef and prednisone.