Close-up of tabby cat drinking water from bowl.
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Diabetes Insipidus In Cats: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Diabetes insipidus in cats, also sometimes referred to as water diabetes, is a medical condition that can cause a cat to need to both urinate and drink more water than usual. It may be quite a rare condition, but it can also result in dehydration and, in some cases, become fatal.

There are two forms of this type of diabetes. Central Diabetes Insipidus happens when a cat’s hypothalamus doesn’t produce enough Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH). Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus happens when a cat’s kidneys do not respond properly to ADH.

If you see the signs of diabetes in your cat, then you must get to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and advice. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for diabetes insipidus in cats.

Symptoms Of Diabetes Insipidus In Cats

Diabetes insipidus in cats usually produces a number of common symptoms. Some of the most frequently seen symptoms include:

  • Urinating much more than usual
  • Drinking much more water than usual
  • Dehydration
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Acting very lethargic

Causes Of Diabetes Insipidus In Cats

a cat is drinking, good view of his tongue
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The cause of diabetes insipidus in cats involves a cat not being able to properly deal with the hormone ADH.

In some cases, a cat’s brain does not secrete enough ADH. In other cases, a cat’s kidneys cannot properly deal with the amount of ADH produced by a cat’s brain.

This prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing water from the bloodstream, causing the cat to urinate more often and drink more water as a result.

The condition can be either congenital, meaning present from birth, or acquired later in life. In acquired cases, some of the factors that might cause the condition include:

The condition can also be idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown.

Veterinary Treatments

If you worry that your cat is suffering from diabetes insipidus, your veterinarian will want to carry out a full physical examination and also ask questions about any symptoms. They’ll order blood and urine tests.

Vets may also use imaging techniques, including MRIs and X-rays, depending on the suspected cause of the condition.

The precise treatment will depend on the exact type of diabetes. In cases where the brain does not secrete enough ADH, vets recommend the use of the medication Desmopressin. For cases where the kidneys are a factor, the underlying cause will be targeted.

In all cases, if your vet prescribes your cat any medication, it is vital that you stick to the precise dosage and frequency instructions and complete the full course of medication.

Does your cat suffer from diabetes insipidus? What kind of treatment does your vet recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

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