One of the most common presenting complaints we encounter in veterinary medicine for both cats in dogs is increased drinking and urination. There are a plethora of causes, but if your animal shows these clinical signs a timely appointment with your veterinarian is warranted. You may notice increased frequency and volume of drinking/urination, or your pet may be having “accidents” in the house, showing signs of urinary incontinence, or urinating in unusual places.
Some of the common causes of increased drinking and urination in dogs are diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, infection in the urinary tract, hyperadrenocorticism, pyometra (infection of the uterus), and liver disease. In cats, the most common causes of increased drinking and urination differ slightly than of those in dogs, including kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, and liver disease. Most of these potentially life-threating conditions can be quickly ruled out by an accurate history, thorough physical examination, and simple blood and urine tests. In some cases additional diagnostics may need to be performed. These may include x-rays of the chest and abdomen, cultures, and ACTH stimulation tests. Depending on the results of the diagnostics referral to an Internal Medicine specialist may be helpful as more advanced diagnostics/treatments may be required. These could include ultrasound, endoscopy, MRI, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
For example, if diabetes mellitus is left untreated, ketoacidosis will develop. Ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition requiring 24 hour intensive care.
A pyometra occur in female intact dogs and require an emergency surgery. If not treated appropriately, a pyometra can prove fatal.
If left untreated hyperthyroidism can result in severe weight loss, chronic diarrhea/vomiting and significant heart disease. Hyperthyroidism can be managed medically, or more definitively treated with radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy.
There are a variety of liver conditions often require more advanced diagnostics such as ultrasound, full thickness biopsies, or a portogram (videofluoroscopy). If left untreated many liver diseases can progress to cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver).
Hyperadrenocorticism is a condition of excessive hormone production. Although a diagnosis in most cases is relatively easy to obtain, some specific cases require further diagnostics such as an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate the adrenal glands and liver, and an MRI to evaluate the brain.
Again, the sooner these conditions are identified and treated, the more successful treatment will be. If you notice any increased drinking and/or urination in your pet please contact your primary care veterinarian immediately. If any of these diseases remain undiagnosed and untreated for too long there may be serious complications.