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Polydipsia and Polyuria (excessive drinking and urinating) in Cats

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Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests used to determine the cause of polyuria and polydipsia should be considered based on results of a complete medical history and thorough physical examination. Baseline diagnostic tests that your veterinarian may request to evaluate a cat with polydipsia may include:

  • Measurement of water intake at home by the owner (to document the presence of polyuria).

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)

  • Serum chemistry tests (including electrolytes)

  • Urinalysis

  • Urine culture and sensitivity

  • Serum thyroid hormone (T4) concentration

    Depending on the clinical situation, your veterinarian might recommend additional diagnostic tests to further investigate the cause of polyuria and polydipsia and provide optimal medical care for your cat. Examples of other tests that may be requested include:

  • Plain abdominal X-ray

  • 24 hour creatinine clearance to evaluate the filtering function of the kidneys

  • Water deprivation testing and anti-diuretic hormone response test

  • Specialized thyroid function tests such as T3 suppression test and radioisotope thyroid scan to evaluate for hyperthyroidism

  • Serum parathyroid hormone measurement

  • Abdominal ultrasound exam

  • Chest X-rays, cytological evaluation of lymph node and bone marrow aspirates to evaluate for the cancer lymphosarcoma in cats with hypercalcemia (high blood calcium concentration)

  • Special dye contrast study of the kidneys (called intravenous pyelography or excretory urography) to evaluate for pyelonephritis.

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