Diabetes Insipidus: Symptoms Checklist

Could your dog or cat have Diabetes Insipidus (DI)? If your pet is drinking and urinating excessively, then Diabetes Insipidus might be the cause. This guide will help you learn more about this disease and what warning signs to watch out for.

Diabetes Insipidus in Animals

What Is Diabetes Insipidus?

Diabetes Insipidus is one of two types of diabetes that can affect dogs and cats, the other being Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Insipidus, also known as “watery diabetes” or “weak diabetes,” is the more rare of the two types, and it can only be diagnosed after performing extensive urine and blood tests.

This type of diabetes is known as watery diabetes because it affects a pet’s water metabolism. It causes the pet to release too much water instead of storing it. Because the pet can’t retain the water, the pet will usually exhibit significantly increased thirst and urination.

Two Forms of Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus is seen in dogs and cats in two different forms, neurogenic DI and nephrogenic DI. Neurogenic DI is caused by a lack of the hormone vasopressin, which his crucial for managing the body’s ability to retain water. Nephrogenic DI is caused when there’s a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) in the body. ADH is the hormone that stimulates the capillary muscles and reduces the flow of urine.

Preventing Diabetes Insipidus

There isn’t much a pet owner can do to help prevent their pet from developing Diabetes Insipidus because in most cases, the disease is due to either an inadequate secretion of ADH or a renal insensitivity to the hormone.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus

If you think your dog or cat might have this form of diabetes, you may start to notice several tell-tale signs. Here is a checklist that you can use to monitor your pet so your veterinarian will have the most comprehensive information at their disposal when treating him. Simply check the box beside the symptom if you have observed it in your pet.

Check the symptoms if your pet exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst and drinking
  • Decreased urination with dehydration
  • Occasional soiling inside the house
  • Poor hair coat
  • Sudden weight loss

Once you’ve completed the checklist, print it out and take it to your veterinarian so you can discuss your pet’s condition with the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough and complete physical examination of your pet and order a battery of lab work, which typically includes a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. If kidney disorders or pituitary tumors are suspected, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) test may also be ordered.

Treating Diabetes Insipidus in Pets

If after the evaluation, the veterinarian diagnoses your pet with Diabetes Insipidus, it’s likely that your pet will need to be hospitalized in order for a modified water deprivation test to be performed. It is important to note that Diabetes Inspidus cannot be cured. But, it can be successfully managed through antidiuretic hormone treatments administered either by injection or in the form of nasal drops. Desmopressin is a synthetic vasopressin drug prescribed by veterinarians for the treatment of central diabetes insipidus in cats and dogs.

In the event your veterinarian decides to prescribe antidiuretic hormone medications to your dog or cat, you can receive a free quote for your pet’s medication from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on your pet medications.

As always, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your pet is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.


Author: Giano Panzarella

Photo Credit: Flickr Commons