“Inactive” Cortisol

This article is just a discussion of terminology. The phrase “inactive cortisol” was coined by Dr. Plechner, the veterinarian who first identified the low cortisol/high sex steroid problem in dogs. He also called it “bound” and “defective” cortisol in his writings. He used these phrases to explain why lab work could indicate normal or high…

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia in SARD Dogs

I’ve long-delayed writing this article because it’s a complex subject that could easily overwhelm the reader. However, the more we acknowledge the hormone disease associated with SARD, the better it is for these dogs and their owners. If you need an introduction to this topic, please start with my previous article about terminology.   The…

Letters from Dog Owners

I routinely receive letters like this from SARD dog owners.  Does it sound like your story, too?  My recommendations are posted below.   Hi Caroline, I came across your website after searching for solutions for my poor dog, Mac.  He’s a 9 year old Maltese who was perfectly healthy until about a year ago. He…

Adrenal Support Supplements

Sometimes a practitioner will try to treat the underlying adrenal problem of SARDS — elevated adrenal sex steroids due to insufficient cortisol — by prescribing nutritional supplements. These are generally labelled as “adrenal support formulas”. These can pose several problems for SARDS dogs. Remember, the adrenal glands of SARDS dogs do not seem to work…

SARD is not an autoimmune disease

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARD) is often labelled as an autoimmune disease. Let me walk you through why this can not be the case. It’s a simple concept.   Point #1: SARD dogs CAN regain vision Despite the often-repeated mantra that blindness is permanent in SARD, reports have surfaced for years demonstrating that SARD dogs…

A Species Difference

The underlying hormone problem in SARD dogs is a failure to produce cortisol. This results in a rise of adrenal sex steroids. In humans this condition is called Non-Classic/Adult Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia or CAH.   (CAH is possibly the most confusing name ever given to a disease process but that’s a topic for another…

Letter from a vet — Ignorance or worse?

March 14th 2023 A SARD-dog owner from Oregon shared the following email with me. It was written by her general practice vet. “I looked into this theory regarding endocrine links to SARDS, as well as this National Diagnostic Lab that I have never heard of. The consensus in the veterinary community is that this is…

Information you should have

I’d like to preface this article with the following statement: Since 2003, veterinary researchers have published papers1,2,3 confirming that 90% of SARDS dogs demonstrate elevated adrenal sex steroids. Keep that in mind as you continue. __________________________   In 2017, a client described her experience during SARDS diagnosis.  She was told there was no known cause…

“No Proven Treatment”

Raise the topic of cortisol hormone replacement for SARDS dogs and veterinary specialists typically respond in two ways. First, they fail to appreciate the difference between prednisone’s role as an anti-inflammatory versus its role as a low-dose hormone replacement. Second, they’ll counter with, “There are no controlled, peer-reviewed studies supporting successful treatment outcomes.” My reply?…

Lab tests — What you need to know

Lab tests can be confusing when dealing with adrenal exhaustion. Some tests are useful. Others are not. In this article, I’d like to discuss these tests.  I have no affiliation with any of the laboratories mentioned herein. Let’s start with the fact that over 90% of SARDS dogs have elevated adrenal sex hormone steroids1. My own…