Dogs are susceptible to various types of diabetes, of which diabetes insipidus is one of them. Over here, the afflicted pet is unable to retain water normally. Thus, canine diabetes insipidus is not at all related to diabetes mellitus, which is associated with improper sugar metabolism. A dog having this health problem manifests behavioral changes and notable symptoms. Hence, dog owners should keep a watch over their pet's health diligently for early diagnosis of diabetes insipidus.
Indications of Diabetes Insipidus in Canines
Canine diabetes insipidus is classified under two types, based on the pathology of the problem. The first is central diabetes insipidus, in which the health problem stems from abnormalities in the brain. On the other hand, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a result of kidney disorders. Genetic and environmental factors are responsible for developing this form of canine diabetes. The cause may also be related to tumor, head trauma and renal disorders. Notable signs of canine diabetes insipidus are listed below.
Increased Urination: Similar to diabetes in humans, canine diabetes insipidus results in frequent urination (polyuria), or excess production of diluted urine. While collecting the urine sample every time the pet passes urine is not a practical idea for the pet owner, there are many more symptoms to watch out for, which collectively signify canine diabetes insipidus.
Low Specific Gravity of Urine: For a dog with this diabetes type, the specific gravity of urine drops below 1.012. This is perhaps related to production of pale urine in abnormally large amounts and excessive fluid intake. If the pet shows unusual elimination behavior, like house soiling and urinating in restricted areas, it is high time to collect urine samples and check for underlying health problems.
Increased Water Intake: In general, drinking water to about 1.38 ounces per pound of the dog's body weight (or 90 ml water per kg body weight) is considered normal. But, if the daily water intake amount exceeds more than this and the pet experiences increased thirst, canine diabetes insipidus is suspected, and a visit to the veterinarian is suggested.
Dehydration Effect: One of the obvious signs of diabetes insipidus in canines is dehydration. Since normal conservation of water is impaired, it is understandable that the affected dog exhibits signs of dehydration. In addition to lethargy, weakness and failure to participate in daily activities, the pet's coat may appear dull and dry.
Running High Temperature: Another less common sign of canine diabetes insipidus is fever. The exact reason for causing elevated body temperature in afflicted pet dogs remains unknown to veterinarians. But, it may be because of general weakness and other referred health conditions of canine diabetes insipidus.
Other Probable Symptoms: Besides the above signs, the disease is often associated with electrolyte imbalance, sudden weight loss, loss of coordination and seizures. Also, the level of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) falls below the normal recommended range. Thus, ADH test is used as a reliable tool to diagnose diabetes insipidus in pet dogs.
How to Treat Canine Diabetes Insipidus?
For diagnosis of diabetes insipidus, careful examination of the pet's symptoms along with medical tests will be conducted by the veterinarian. The objective is to rule out other metabolic disorders that may cause polyuria and excessive thirst. Once the type of diabetes insipidus is confirmed, appropriate treatment approaches will be recommended for the pet dog. Therapeutic intervention for both types involve administration of medication in proper doses. The affected dogs should be given lots of water and sodium restricted diet to prevent dehydration.
The central diabetes insipidus is treated with desmopressin acetate (synthetic hormone vasopressin), which is available in the form of oral tablets, eye drops, nasal sprays and injections. It regulates the urine production and water conservation mechanism of the body. As for treatment of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus in dogs, the vet may recommend thiazine diuretics. The therapeutic action of these diuretics alters the way the kidney works, to ensure production of concentrated urine. If required, pain relievers may be prescribed to soothe pain in sick dogs.
Fortunately, this form of canine diabetes is not always serious. Several pets diagnosed with the same, lead a normal life with proper treatment and care from the dog owner's side. The thumb rule is to monitor signs of diabetes insipidus in dogs and diagnose it as early as possible. Following this, correct treatment should be proceeded with to ease discomfort symptoms and ensure prompt recovery of the sick dog.