Feline diabetes insipidus is a rare form of diabetes that occurs in cats. It is also known as water diabetes and is different than diabetes mellitus which is caused by excess sugar in your pets blood.
Feline diabetes insipidus occurs in cats when the pet is unable to conserve water in the urine. This occurs when the kidneys are performing their usual duties of filtrating blood. The retaining of water in the kidneys is controlled by an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) called vasopressin. This hormone is produced in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus and controlled by the pituitary gland which is a very small gland located at the base of the brain.
When there is a problem with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, the cat does not produce ADH to control the amount of water that is retained and recirculated in the blood system. This is known as central feline diabetes insipidus. This can be caused by a genetic problem, head injury, brain tumor and occasionally for no reason at all.
There is another type of feline diabetes insipidus which occurs when the kidneys lose the ability to recognize or use ADH. This is known as feline nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. This can be caused by a genetic problem, some medications, or another metabolic or endocrine disorder.
Both types of feline diabetes insipidus have the same symptoms — excess thirst and frequent urinations. This can cause the cat to become dehydrated with rough fur coat. They often will lose weight. And while the symptoms of the two types of diabetes insipidus are the same, the treatments are different. Feline central diabetes insipidus is easy to treat but it is harder to manage feline nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
The diagnosis of diabetes insipidus will need to be made by your vet as they will need to rule out any conditions or diseases with the same symptoms. The same symptoms can be seen in kidney infections or kidney diseases, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, acromegaly, as well as diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes. A complete physical exam together with blood and urine tests will help to rule out other problems.
After other problems are ruled out, the vet will need to test the urine to see how concentrated it is. If the urine has a low specific gravity then diabetes insipidus can be suspected.
To determine what type of diabetes insipidus, the vet will probably do a water deprivation test or a modified water deprivation test. But this test can be very hard on your pet and central diabetes insipidus can be diagnosed by doing an ADH or DDAVP trial. This is a much safer test and can be done at home.
The treatment of feline diabetes insipidus will depend on the diagnoses after these tests.
Feline diabetes insipidus is a rare form of diabetes that occurs in cats. It is also known as water diabetes.
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