Water Diabetes or Diabetes Insipidus (DI) is a rare condition in dogs that affects their water metabolism, prevents the body from conserving water and releases too much of it. The disorder is characterized by frequent or intensified urination, dilution of urine (Dull Urine) and increased thirst for water.
The purpose of the kidneys is to continuously filter the blood that passes through them and to maintain the balance of the body’s water by excreting or reabsorbing the fluid as needed.
Effective re-absorption involves an appropriate amount of hormone known to be released by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland in the brain. If this hormone is not produced in appropriate amounts or if the kidney does not respond to it, diabetes insipidus can occur.
Symptoms are quite simple to identify and cannot be used solely to diagnose.
- polyuria (Excessive urination)
- polydipsia (Excessive drinking)
- It may seem that your dog has defecation issues, but it is actually the constant urination he is experiencing.
- Weight loss
- Failure to thrive
While mellitus is more common and can be diagnosed with glucometer in seconds, diabetes insipidus can be diagnosed with a series of blood and urine tests that can take hours. Your veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical examination and will take a detailed history of your pet’s health. Symptoms of diabetes insipidus are very close to other diseases like liver or kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, hypo-hyperthyroidism, and Addison’s disease. Your veterinarian can suggest diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms of your pet.
These could include:
- Bile acid test
- Urine culture
- Tests of the adrenal gland
- Thyroid hormone test
- Complete medical history and physical examination
- Complete blood count
- Serum biochemistry panel
- X-rays or ultrasound
- The most important test to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes insipidus is the modified water deprivation test.
Polyuria can be regulated using desmopressin acetate, a synthetic analog of ADH. The initial dose is 2 drops that are applied to the conjunctivae or to the nasal mucosae; this is progressively increased until the minimum effective dose is determined. The maximum effect typically occurs within 2–6 hours and lasts for 10–12 hours. Water does not need to be limited. Treatment should be continued once or twice a day for the life of the dog.
Prevention and Care
While diabetes management involves lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, diabetes insipidus can only be controlled with the aid of fluid intake and medication. Water should always be made accessible to your dog because a lack of water will result quickly in death. Diabetes insipidus is typically a chronic disease, except in rare patients for whom the disorder was trauma-induced. The prognosis is usually strong, depending on the underlying condition. However, if left untreated, dehydration can lead to stupor, coma, and death.