The Difference Between HBC and Addison’s Disease


Zola's Broken Left Femur

We’re having a slight déjà vu.   After coming down from the horrors of witnessing our young dog being hit by a car (HBC), we realized that our last dog was about the same age as Zola when she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.

Bella went very quickly from being a super-athletic, mischievous, young dog to suffering kidney failure.    We were extremely lucky that our vet was able to diagnose the disease early and start the continual doses of pills and shots that kept her alive.   We ended up spending nearly ten great years with that dog; however, each year we saw increasing decline in her mobility and endurance.    While she still wanted to go for walks, runs and hikes, the onset of her illness put a quick end to all but the shortest outings.     By the last year of her life, we were the ones getting all of the exercise.    Bella was only along for the ride.

This time it feels different.  As we understand it, Addison’s disease is a genetic disorder. We like to blame Bella’s birth-parents for handing down her inability to produce adrenaline and the hormones her body needed to be healthy. That’s not the case with Zola. It was our sole responsibility to keep her safe and we failed. That’s the terrible reality of it all but we think that there might be a silver lining.


Zola's left femur after surgery

All indications are Zola’s set-back is temporary. She recovered from her collapsed lung within a couple of days of the accident, with this problem resolved she could have the surgery for her broken femur.   Zola was lucky enough to have broken the bone mid-shaft, leaving the hip and knee joints undamaged. We were told on more than one occasion that this is the “best place to break a femur”.   It meant that Zola’s leg could be reassembled using a bone plate, 8 screws and 2 wires.  We’ve since learned that this is the surgical option that requires the least post-operative care and allowed her to walk on all four legs within 24 hours after the surgery.

This time, for Zola, it gets better. Unlike Bella before her, we’ve been told that she is likely to fully recover. We’re holding our breath hoping the doctors are right, this time the story might end differently.

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