April 16, 2017

SARD Seasons

There are two times each year when I see an uptick in the occurrence of SARD. The first is in the fall. Around Thanksgiving. The second is in the spring. Around Valentines day.  During these times, the adrenal gland typically experiences an increase in activity. Why?

In the autumn the adrenal gland helps the body prepare for the stress of the coming winter. It helps the animal grow a winter coat, deal with the cold weather and fewer calories, go into hibernation.  In the spring, the adrenal gland is involved with the new seasonal changes: coming out of hibernation, preparing for breeding.

When an adrenal gland can no longer produce cortisol, it produces adrenal sex-hormones (most notably, estrogen) instead. So in the fall and in the spring, when the adrenal gland is being stimulated by the brain, it produces a spike in estrogen levels.

As you may know from my writings, my thesis is that elevated estrogen triggers a seizure in the retinas. During that seizure the retina cannot communicate with the brain. Since the brain is where visual images really occur, the dog loses vision suddenly.

As the seasons change, the spike in adrenal sex-hormone steroids may subside. Levels may drop somewhat along with the steroid signs and symptoms. This gives the false impression that the problem is over or that the dog has adapted to the elevated sex-hormone levels.