Desmopressin is a synthetic vasopressin drug prescribed by veterinarians for the treatment of central diabetes insipidus in cats and dogs. It is also included in therapy techniques used to treat Von Willebrand’s Disease in dogs.

Pharmacology of Desmopressin

ADH, or antidiuretic hormone, is a hormone found in the kidney that controls water loss through urine. This hormone is also responsible for the constriction of blood vessels for increasing the body’s blood pressure, which is why this hormone is considered a vasopressin. When the body is ADH-deficient, it can cause a host of negative conditions resulting from water imbalance. Desmopressin is administered to offset the ADH deficiency, thereby restoring water balance to the body.

Treating Von Willebrand’s Disease With Desmopressin

Von Willebrand’s Disease is an inherited bleeding disorder found in some dogs. Dogs afflicted with this disease lack certain clotting factors necessary for the platelets to form clots. While there is no known cure for Von Willebrand’s Disease, Desmopressin Acetate (DDAVP) is believed to help promote clotting when administered intranasally during a bleeding episode.

How Is Desmopressin Supplied?

Desmopressin is only available with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian in either an injection, capsule, tablet or an ophthalmic solution. The injection is only recommended for dogs. The dosage, frequency and route mode of administration are determined by the treating veterinarian.

Possible Side Effects Associated With Desmopressin

Desmopressin, while safe and effective when used in accordance with the veterinary instructions, may cause some animals to experience certain side effects. The most common potential side effects include eye irritation or inflammation and fluid retention, although this typically only occurs in cases in which high doses of the drug are administered.

Desmopressin Precautions

Desmopressin should be avoided in animal patients with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the medication. This drug may also cause an interaction with one or more other drugs, namely epinephrine, fludrocortisone and heparin. Prior to treatment, consult with the veterinarian to determine if Desmopressin may interact with any medications the animal may be taking. It is also helpful to know that desmopressin drops are generally dosed to be delivered to one eye at any given time, not both. The eyes themselves are not being treated—merely being used as the route of administration.