Canine Diabetes Insipidus

When it comes to diabetes, most people know about the form characterized by an imbalance of blood sugar. This is known as diabetes mellitus. Most owners don’t know much about canine diabetes insipidus which causes an imbalance of water in the body. Fortunately, it is very rare and can easily yield a good prognosis upon treatment if it does happen to occur.

Canine Diabetes Insipidus

There are two types of diabetes insipidus in dogs called central and nephrogenic. The central form occurs because of pituitary gland tumors, trauma, birth defect, or sometimes an unknown cause. When the pituitary gland keeps secreting ADH like it’s supposed to, but the kidneys don’t respond to it, your dog has the nephrogenic form. It can be caused by birth defects, medications, structural defects, or various metabolic disorders.



When it comes to canine diabetes insipidus, owners can easily see that there is something wrong. Dogs will drink steadily and use the bathroom constantly. Unfortunately, these two signs can be caused by many other conditions such as renal failure, liver disease, and Cushing’s disease.

It can be easy for owners to miss the signs of diabetes insipidus in dogs though. This can happen if the dog is kept outside with minimal supervision. Unlike dogs that are kept indoors, they won’t have to be let out in order to go to the bathroom. If you have to let your dog out, then you will certainly notice him having to use the bathroom much more than normal.

It is vital that dogs with canine diabetes insipidus be provided with a constant supply of fresh water. If not, they can easily become dehydrated. This can occur in less than eight hours. If the dog isn’t treated, then he will fall into a coma and die.

As mentioned, other conditions can produce signs similar to those of diabetes insipidus in dogs. Therefore, diagnosis involves ruling out the presence of these other conditions. The pituitary gland will need to be examined to ensure that there is no tumor. To see if your dog still has the ability to concentrate urine, a water deprivation test may be conducted.

If the pituitary gland isn’t functioning like normal, then medications can be given to simulate the effects of the hormone it’s responsible for releasing. This medication commonly comes as a nasal spray, eye drops, or nose drops. Some owners decide to inject the medication instead.

Other forms of canine diabetes insipidus may need to be treated with diuretics or medications that help the dog concentrate urine normally. Some medications can also help the kidneys respond to the secreted hormone ADH better. Other cases can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.



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