There are two types of diabetes in dogs; Diabetes Insipidus (Water diabetes) and Diabetes Mellitus (Drinking diabetes). While Diabetes mellitus is more common in dogs, Diabetes Insipidus is a rare condition that affects their water metabolism by preventing the body from conserving water and releasing too much of it.
The condition is characterized by frequent or increased urination, dilute urine (Dull urine), incontinence, and increase the thirst for water. If you notice these signs in your dog, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for the diagnosis immediately.
Symptoms of Water Diabetes in Dogs
Common clinical signs of diabetes seen in dogs are;
- Increased urination (polyuria)
- Increased drinking (polydipsia)
- Decreased urination with dehydration
- Poor hair coat
- Weight loss
- Failure to thrive
- Incontinence issues
Sometimes, your dogs can have varying issues for urinary accidents at home. Some of these causes shouldn’t be confused with the symptoms of Water Diabetes, including Urinary tract infections, Urinary stones, and Incontinence, Urinary Tract Cancer, and Kidney disease.
The only way to know if your dog is suffering from water diabetes is a proper medical diagnosis.
Types of Water Diabetes
There are two significant DIs that affect dogs;
- Neurogenic (Central diabetes insipidus)
- Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
Neurogenic (Central diabetes insipidus)
The lack of the hormone vasopressin causes Neurogenic DI, which regulates the body's water retention. The hypothalamus in the brain controls the production and regulation of vasopressin.
A dysfunction in vasopressin release can be caused by a head injury or a tumor in the brain. In some cases, it can also be due to failure in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.
Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus
A deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or arginine vasopressin causes Nephrogenic DI. ADH functions to stimulate the capillary muscles and reduce urine flow, hence effectively conserving water for the body's various functions.
The cause of Nephrogenic Diabetes is found in the kidneys and their inability to respond appropriately to ADH. It can cause too much water from the body to escape into the urine.
According to WebMD.com,
This is typically an acquired condition due to amyloidosis of the kidney, cysts on the kidney, or an imbalance of electrolytes.
What causes Water Diabetes in Dogs?
The kidney functions as a crucial organ to continually filter the blood and to maintain the balance of the body's water by excreting or reabsorbing fluid as required. Efficient reabsorption requires an adequate level of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or vasopressin. Diabetes Insipidus can start with the inadequate production of ADH by the pituitary gland. The condition where the kidney resists the hormone is called Nephrogenic DI.
Many causes can alter the production of ADH. The most probable causes are congenital disabilities, brain trauma, a tumor in the pituitary gland, and cancer. Some common reasons for renal insensitivity to ADH is;
Congenital, Secondary to drugs, and Secondary to endocrine and metabolic disorders (Hyperadrenocorticism, Hypocalcemia, Pyometra, Hypercalcemia, Pyelonephritis, and Chronic kidney failure) or secondary to certain diseases (severe infection, metabolic disorders, or advancing kidney disease).
Diagnosing Water Diabetes
It would be best if you took your dog to the veterinarian for a proper medical diagnosis of diabetes.
- Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, including blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel.
- They may ask you a series of questions, including the medical history of your dog to state its state of health.
- A more profound diagnosis test includes testing Plasma ADH levels to differentiate between neurogenic or central diabetes insipidus and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
- Other forms of diagnostics include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to locate pituitary tumors or kidney disorders.
- It follows a modified water deprivation test or an ADH supplementation trial to check for body water loss.
Treatment of Water Diabetes
Your dog will need to be hospitalized for a modified water deprivation test if it's diagnosed with any two of the Diabetes Insipidus. An ADH trial follows it if the cause is neurogenic DI which is generally treated with vasopressin injections.
Diabetes Insipidus is treated using a synthetic formulation of ADH called desmopressin (also known as DDAVP) applied either as eye drops or by injection under the skin. Nephrogenic DI is treated using oral hydrochlorothiazide and a low-salt diet. The treatment depends upon the definitive diagnosis.
To manage life with water diabetes, you should always provide enough water to your dog to avoid dehydration. Water deprivation can easily lead to stupor, coma, and death.
Check this infographic about symptoms of water diabetes in Dogs.
Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best pet hospital in Des Moines. Meet our certified veterinarian in Urbandale to learn more about water diabetes in dogs and measures to prevent it. We offer 24/7 medical assistance along with mobile medical assistance in Urbandale.