Canine Diabetes Insipudus

Canine diabetes insipidus is a condition that causes water imbalance in dogs, and shouldn’t be confused with diabetes mellitus. It occurs in pets of all age groups and although the condition develops in very few dogs, it requires prompt treatment to prevent dehydration and death.

Causes of Canine Diabetes Insipidus

The condition is caused by a limited production of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) by the brain, or by the failure of pet’s kidneys to respond to the ADH. The brain might not produce the necessary ADH if the pet suffers from trauma or a tumor, while the kidneys won't respond to ADH due to metabolic disorders or congenital defects. Diabetes insipidus caused by "no known cause" is termed as idiopathic diabetes insipidus.

Symptoms of Canine Diabetes Insipidus:

  • Polyuria
  • Polydipsia
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Imbalance while walking
  • Disorientation

Polyuria and Polydipsia

Polyuria and polydipsia are the most common symptoms that occur when canine insipidus develops. Pets will consume large quantities of water, frequently go outdoors to urinate and occasionally urinate in places inside the home. In addition, electrolyte imbalance is common and leads to symptoms such as disorientation and seizures. Pets can become dehydrated within a few hours, and hence, prompt diagnosis and treatment is necessary. Dogs suffering from dehydration will also experience rapid heartbeat and lethargy. Symptoms such as polyuria and polydipsia often go unnoticed due to the availability of water and outdoor access. It’s important to observe all physical symptoms in order to obtain a proper clinical diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Canine Diabetes Insipidus

The diagnostic test that provides a conclusive result is termed as a water deprivation test. It’s performed to determine if the dog can produce urine after water deprivation. This test can require one day of hospitalization. The vet will also perform a series of other diagnostic tests, such as a serum biochemistry panel test, blood test, urine analysis, adrenal gland performance tests and liver function test. In order to determine the presence of tumors or changes in the brain, the vet will perform an x-ray or ultrasound. The diagnosis will also reveal the type of diabetes insipidus that the dog is suffering from.

Treatment of Canine Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus that’s caused by the inability of the brain to produce sufficient (ADH) is treated with medication that’s formulated as a synthetic form of ADH. The medication is available as a nasal spray, tablets and in injection form. Pet owners should read and follow package instructions in order to administer the appropriate dosage. Thiazide diuretics are used to treat diabetes insipidus caused by low kidney response. Commonly known drugs for diabetes insipidus are desmopressin acetate, chlorpropamide and certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Although medication helps to control the symptoms, pets should be allowed plenty of water intake and outdoor access.

Dogs that exhibit unusual symptoms should be given prompt medical care. Since dehydration is a cause of concern, as it can lead to death in a few hours, pets suffering from diabetes insipidus should also be monitored for any change in behavior.