Diabetes Insipidus

Canine Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus is a condition in which the body fails to maintain balance of water due to reduced production of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also called vasopressin. This hormone regulates the kidneys' capability of absorbing water. It may also occur because of the failure of the kidneys to respond to the antidiuretic hormone. Diabetes insipidus is a rare ailment affecting dogs and is altogether different from canine diabetes mellitus, which is caused by the deficiency of insulin or insulin resistance that curbs sugar metabolism.

Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a condition in which because of defect in the small tubes (tubules) in the kidneys, the person passes a large amount of urine. The tubules enable water to be drained from the body or reabsorbed.


Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is detected when the kidney tubules fail to respond to antidiuretic hormone, also famous as vasopressin. ADH generally instructs the kidneys to enable the urine more concentrated.

Because of this deformity, the kidneys drain an excessive amount of fluid into the urine, accumulating a large quantity of very dilute urine. This makes you urinate often.

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is not very common. Congenital diabetes insipidus is present since birth because of an inherited defect that generally affects men, although women can transfer the gene on to their children.

Mostly, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus occurs because of other reasons. This is termed as acquired disorder. Factors that can stimulate this condition include:

  • Blockage in the urinary tract
  • High calcium levels
  • Less potassium
  • Use of certain drugs


Symptoms may include intense or excessive thirst, and crave for ice water. Urinating excessively, i.e., more than 3-15 liters per day.

In case of not sufficient intake of fluids, condition of dehydration may result. Symptoms may include:

  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Dry skin
  • Sunken fontanelles (soft spot) in infants
  • Sunken appearance to eyes

Some other symptoms may occur due to inadequate fluids:

  • Fatigue, lethargy
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle pains
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability

Testing may reveal:

  • High serum osmolality
  • High urine output. Irrespective of intake of fluids
  • Kidney’s inability to concentrate urine.
  • Low urine osmolality
  • Normal or high ADH levels

Other tests that can be are:

  • Serum sodium
  • Urine 24 hour volume
  • Urine specific gravity
  • Urine concentration test


The objective of treatment is to check the body's fluid levels. Patients will be given a large quantity of fluids. The amount of fluids provided should be almost equal to the amount of urine drained.

If the condition is because of a certain medication, seizure of medicine may improve symptoms. But don’t stop taking any medication without consulting your doctor.

Hydrochlorothiazide may improve symptoms. This may be used alone or in profusion with other medications, including indomethacin. Albeit this medicine is a diuretic (usually administered to increase urine output), but in certain cases hydrochlorothiazide can actually reduce urine output in people with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Central Diabetes Insipidus Central diabetes insipidus is a condition in which lack of antidiuretic hormone causes excessive production of extra diluted urine (polyuria).

  • Various reasons of diabetes insipidus may include a tuberculosis, brain injury, brain tumor, or brain surgery.
  • The main sign is excessive thirst and excessive urination.
  • The treatment is based on water deprivation test, blood test, and urine tests.
  • People with central diabetes insipidus are generally given the drugs vasopressin or desmopressin.
Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms may surface gradually or suddenly at any time. Most of the time, the general symptoms are excessive thirst and excessive urine production. A person may drink huge quantity of fluid —3 to 30 liters a day—to cover the fluid lost in urine. Ice-cold water is often recommended as a potential intake. When compensation is not possible, dehydration follows leading to low blood pressure and shock.

Doctors suspect diabetes insipidus in those people who produce large quantity of urine. They first test the urine for sugar for diabetes mellitus. Blood tests show unusual levels of many electrolytes, including a high quantity of sodium.

The best solution is water deprivation test, in which urine drainage, blood electrolyte levels, and weight are checked periodically for about 12 hours, during which water intake is prohibited. A doctor monitors the person's condition all through the time of the test. At the end of the 12 hours—or sooner if the person's blood pressure drops or heart rate shoots or if he loses more than 5% of his weight—the doctor cease the test and injects antidiuretic hormone.

The diagnosis of central diabetes insipidus is confirmed if, it the person's excessive urination stops, in response to antidiuretic hormone, the urine becomes concentrated, the blood pressure rises, and the heart beats goes back to normal. The diagnosis of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is considered if, after the injection, the excessive urine production continues, the urine remains dilute, and blood pressure and heart rate remain undeterred.


Vasopressin or desmopressin (a modified form of vasopressin) can be taken as a nasal spray number of times in a day. The dose is adjusted keeping in view the water balance of the body's and amount of urine production. Taking excessive of these drugs can result in fluid retention, swelling, and other troubles. People with central diabetes insipidus who are undergoing surgery or are unconscious are commonly administered injections of vasopressin.

Sometimes central diabetes insipidus can be controlled by medicines that stimulate production of antidiuretic hormone, i.e. chlorpropamide Some Trade Names includes DIABINESE , carbamazepine  TEGRETOL, clofibrate, and thiazide diuretics. These medicines are unlikely to ease symptoms entirely in those people having severe diabetes insipidus.

Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs

Diabetes is a medical term that stands for a range of disorders that are featured as unusual thirst and frequent abnormal urination. Diabetes in canines is of two forms:

  • Diabetes Insipidus or drinking diabetes
  • Diabetes Mellis or sugar diabetes

Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a condition arises due to trouble in maintaining water balance in the body.  When affected by DI your dog will be unable to concentrate urine due to which he will urinate excessively. The term "insipid" refers to dilute urine.

A rare type of dog health issues by breed, DI, can only be detected once blood and urine tests are examined carefully. In this type of disease, dogs commonly take more than normal water and urinate more frequently. However, dog owners mustn’t come to a conclusion that their pet has diabetes insipidus based on only these symptoms. Lack of right treatment may lead to coma, dehydration, and even death.

There can be various reasons why you pet may have started taking more water or “polydipsia” and enhanced urination or ‘polyuria,’ which may include diabetes mellis and some other kidney trouble. It’s important to get your dog examined by a professional veterinarian as well as ask him pet health related questions to confirm the exact reason of your dog health issues.

Types Of Diabetes Insipidus

There are two main types of diabetes insipidus:

  • Pet health questions are necessary to understand the different other reasons and effects of central diabetes insipidus and a few of these may include congenital defect, tumors on the pituitary gland, trauma, or other reasons.
  • Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus: Nephrogenic DI is caused due to inability of response by the kidneys to the antidiuretic hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland. Congenital deformity, some drugs or metabolic defect may cause ephrogenic DI

Diagnosis of Diabetes Insipidus

A vet would generally, try to evade other diseases with identical symptoms such as Cushing's disease or ‘Hyperadrenocorticism’, renal failure, hyperthyroidism in felines, diabetes mellitus and liver disease in other dog health problems by breed.

Treatment of Diabetes Insipidus

Central DI can be cured with a drug called ‘Desmopressin’ that compensates the lack of antidiuretic hormone. Popularly known as DDAVP, it comes in the form of nasal spray pump and liquid to be used in rhinal tube, injection and in tablet form.

‘Thiazide diuretics can be used to control Nephrogenic DI. The main objective of these medications is to enable concentration of urine. Oral medicine, e.g. as ‘chlorothiazide work with the kidneys to concentrate the urine.