Canine Diabetes Insipudus Symptoms

There are 3 types of canine diabetes, namely, diabetes mellitus, gestational diabetes and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is also known as "water diabetes" or the "other diabetes," and it can occur in dogs of all breeds and ages.

Canine Diabetes Insipidus

Canine diabetes insipidus is a condition in which the body loses its capacity to maintain water balance and is usually attributed to a lowered production of the hormone ADH. ADH is also known as vasopressin or antidiuretic hormone, and it is released by the pituitary gland. It regulates the ability to absorb water by the kidneys. Diabetes insipidus is dangerous because it can cause dehydration in a dog within 4 to 6 hours if undetected and untreated.

Types of Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

There are two types of diabetes insipidus. Central diabetes insipidus is due to an insufficient production of ADH and results in water imbalance in the body and the inability to concentrate urine. This type of diabetes is also known as vasopressin sensitive diabetes insipidus. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is due to the kidneys' inability to respond to the ADH present in the body. This type of diabetes is also known as vasopressin resistant diabetes insipidus.

Causes of Diabetes Insipidus:

  • Idiopathic, where the cause is not identified
  • Congenital factor
  • Tumor in the brain or the pituitary gland
  • Trauma to the head leading to insufficient production of ADH by the pituitary gland
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Trauma to the kidney 
  • Adverse side effects of certain drugs

Symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus

Both central and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus have the same symptoms. Dogs suffering from this disease have symptoms such as polydipsia, polyuria, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, disorientation, seizures, lack of coordination, diluted and clear urine, urine of low specific gravity, low levels of ADH and loss of weight.


If your pet shows signs of abnormal thirst and is constantly drinking large amounts of water, he should be taken to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. You should never withhold water from your pet, because he can get dehydrated.


In this case, your pet passes an abnormal amount of urine. The urine is clear, colorless, watery and diluted. Like polydipsia, this symptom is common to many illnesses and needs to be correctly diagnosed.

Electrolyte Imbalance

As a result of the polyuria, there is a loss of valuable electrolytes through your pet's urine. This is harmful, because electrolytes are vital for muscle coordination, nerve function, heart function and the absorption and excretion of fluids. As a result of electrolyte imbalance, your pet can appear lethargic, drowsy and restless. He might also show signs of increased thirst, decreased production of urine and rapid heartbeat.


As a result of polyuria and electrolyte imbalance, dehydration can set in and prove fatal if not treated at the earliest. Some symptoms of dehydration are sunken eyes, thick saliva, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, dry gums and depression.

Since many of these symptoms are common to other diseases, it's important to conduct a vet check so that the disease can be correctly identified and treated. If the symptoms mentioned above are accompanied by low levels of ADH and low specific gravity of the urine, it's easy for the veterinarian to confirm the condition as diabetes insipidus.