Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

Overview of Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a metabolic disorder characterized by excessive, extreme urination, and accompanied by undue thirst. It is either caused by impaired production of a hormone called ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) from the brain (central DI), or an impaired ability of the kidney to respond properly to the ADH (nephrogenic DI).

Central DI can occur if there is damage to the part of the brain that makes the ADH. Trauma or cancer would be potential causes of this kind of damage. Most cases are “idiopathic”; in other words, there is no known cause.

Nephrogenic (originating from the kidneys) DI is a very rare congenital disorder that also occurs for no known reason.

There is no apparent age, gender, or breed predilection for DI. Most cases occur in dogs; cats are rarely affected. As long as dogs with DI have unlimited access to water and are in an environment where excessive urination is not a problem, most dogs do fine and have an excellent life expectancy.

What to Watch For

Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are needed to rule out other common causes of excessive thirst and urination, including:

Treatment of Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

If therapy is necessary, treatment for diabetes insipidus in dogs may include the following:

Home Care and Prevention

Give medications as directed and make absolutely certain the dog has constant access to water.

As most cases of central DI are of unknown cause, that is idiopathic, there is no specific preventative care. Dogs with congenital nephrogenic DI should not be bred in case there is a genetic predisposition to the disorder.

In-depth Information on Canine Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a metabolic disorder in which dogs demonstrate a severe overproduction of urine. The most common form of DI is called central DI, and is due to insufficient production of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), a hormone responsible for concentrating the urine into a small volume. Dogs with DI urinate and drink excessively.

Most cases of central DI are idiopathic, meaning that they occur for no known reason; however, damage to the part of the brain that makes ADH can lead to DI. Cancer or trauma are two common known causes of central DI. A second uncommon form called nephrogenic DI results from impaired responsiveness of the kidney to the action of ADH. It is a rare, congenital condition and has occasionally been reported to be hereditary in a few instances.

Excessive urination and thirst is a common clinical sign. The diagnostic tests recommended will help differentiate DI from these other conditions that can cause excessive thirst and urination:

Veterinary Care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations

Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are mostly geared toward ruling out the more common causes of excessive thirst and urination in dogs. Once the common disorders are ruled out, specific tests for DI can be performed.

Treatment In-depth

Common treatment options in dogs include:

Therapy is not mandatory for DI as long as the pet has unlimited access to water, and is kept in an environment where constant urination is not a problem. This usually applies to outdoor pets. Therapy with DDAVP can be administered intermittently, when severe thirst and excess urination is especially undesirable, for example, if guests are visiting. Unrestricted access to water is absolutely imperative.

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Diabetes Insipidus

Optimal treatment for a dog with diabetes insipidus requires both home and professional care, with follow up being critical. Administer prescribed medications and alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. Follow up includes: