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Some pets will have a tendency to drink a lot of water and urinate frequently. We become more concerned when there is a change over time or if there are other concurrent symptoms.
Common causes of increased thirst and/or urination:
- Diabetes mellitus (DM): common concurrent signs of DM are increased hunger with weight loss. Obese pets tend to be at higher risk. Treatment involves insulin therapy, weight management and diet change. Treatment is lifelong in dogs but some cats can revert back to a non-diabetic state if treated early and aggressively.
- Kidney failure: common concurrent symptoms are weight loss, inappetance, vomiting and lethargy. This is a fairly common ailment in our geriatric cats but can affect middle-aged cats and dogs as well. In most cases, kidney disease is not identified until pet's have lost at least 75% of their normal kidney function. In chronic cases, treatment is aimed at slowing progression of the disease and treating patient's symptoms to keep them feeling as good as possible for as long as possible.
- Cushing's disease: common concurrent signs are muscle wasting, increased appetite and increased panting. This is an endocrine disorder that we see commonly in dogs and rarely in cats. The symptoms result from increased cortisol (steroid) production in the body. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Diagnosis is made based on symptoms and blood work.
- Hyperthyroidism: common concurrent symptoms are increased appetite, weight loss and/or occasional vomiting. We typically see it in middle-aged to older cats. The symptoms are a result of excess thyroid hormone. Treatment can involve surgery, radioiodine treatment, or change of diet with concurrent oral medications. Surgery or radioiodine therapy can be curative while oral medications and diet change are lifelong. Diagnosis is made based on blood work results.
- Liver disease: common concurrent symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, inappetance and some pets may have yellow discoloration to their skin or eyes (not seen in every case). Liver disease can develop as a result of many things including, but not limited to, toxin ingestion, cancer, infection and/or inflammation. Treatment and prognosis will depend on the underlying cause. Diagnostics may include blood work, x-rays, and abdominal ultrasound.
- Pyometra: common concurrent symptoms include lethargy and inappetance. Affected patients may or may not have vaginal discharge. Pyometra is a uterine infection in females that are not spayed. Emergency surgery is almost always required for successful outcome. Diagnosis is made based on symptoms and x-rays or abdominal ultrasound. Blood work is extremely important because there tends to be concurrent anemia, increased white blood cell count and electrolyte changes that may require additional treatment modalities.
There are multiple other causes of increased thirst and urination. Most of them require veterinary care and treatment. Please call our office at (760)736-3636 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.