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Polydipsia and Polyuria (excessive drinking and urinating) in Cats

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Polyuria and polydipsia are not specific for any one disease but can be caused by several disorders including:

  • Endocrine (hormonal) disorders

  • Hyperadrenocorticism (overactivity of the adrenal glands)

  • Hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid glands)

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Kidney disorders

  • Renal glucosuria (a defect of the kidney tubules leading to spillage of glucose in the urine)

  • Kidney failure (more commonly acute but sometimes chronic)

  • Pyelonephritis (infection of the kidneys)

  • Increased production of urine after relief of urinary tract obstruction (so-called "post-obstructive diuresis")

  • Loss of normal salts and chemicals (i.e. urea) in the kidney that facilitate water reabsorption (so-called "renal medullary washout")

  • Impaired response of the kidney tubules to anti-diuretic hormone that normally promotes water reabsorption (so-called "nephrogenic" diabetes insipidus)

  • Electrolyte abnormalities

  • High blood calcium concentration (hypercalcemia)

  • Low blood potassium concentration (hypokalemia)

  • Abnormally high red blood cell numbers leading to thickened blood called "polycythemia")

  • Infection of the uterus (called "pyometra")

  • Liver disease

  • Defective release of anti-diuretic hormone from the pituitary gland (called "central" or "pituitary" diabetes inspidus)

  • Psychogenic polydipsia (a behavioral problem that leads to compulsive water drinking)

  • Administration of fluids, salt, diuretics or cortisone-like drugs

  • The most common causes of polyuria and polydipsia in cats are chronic kidney failure, hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus.

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