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Diabetes Insipidus

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    Diabetes Insipidus

    Anyone have experience with a dog and diabetes insipidus? Our senior dog, TC (10-12 year old, 60 pound lab mix), has been noticeably ravenous and drinking, and drinking and drinking a LOT. He's always been a big drinker, but his drinking and urinating has increased so much in the past few months that it drew my attention to it. Of course, my first thoughts were diabetes, renal failure or cushings/addison's.

    After blood testing all coming back within normal limits for diabetes (insulin type), adrenal screens (cushings), liver and kidney function, white blood cell count and urinalysis showing only a low specific gravity (and a 2nd urinalysis showing the exact same reading after 10 hours of withholding water), and thus ruling out diabetes, adrenal issues (cushings/addisons), renal failure, etc., vet is thinking D.I.

    Next step is to administer desmopressin acetate and determine if his water intake decreases considerably and if his urine concentrates more (in a nut shell).

    Anyone have experience with it? Is treatment successful with medication (regular subcutaneous injections of desmopressin, I believe)? Is the desmopressin pricey?
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    this may not help you, but my cat who i was sure was diabetic had hyperthyroid disease instead. im still not convinced, though she has gained weight. she has a typical diabetes "posture", google it. But my info maybe feline only.She does have hard kidneys.


      I've got an insipidus dog. Went through all the same tests you did, through regular and specialist vets. Both vets indicated that the desmopressin works best as an eye drop. In that form it was very expensive to buy, and I was only able to get a nasal spray that I had to take apart in order to deliver as eye drops. It was a pain.

      It seemed to work for a couple of weeks, then wasn't working as well. I talked to the specialist about getting it compounded in a different form, and he said that he really didn't usually recommend treating it, because it was pricey and most people had the variable results I did, meaning you had to rejigger dosage all the time. He said that with lifestyle management you could deal with an insipidus dog - plenty of access to water, careful handling outdoors in the heat because they dehydrate quickly, etc.

      So, might be worth discussing some of this with your vet. If the insipidus isn't causing problems, you may be able to manage as I do. I know some dogs experience incontinence because of the amount of water they take in, and that can be tough. My girl doesn't really have issues too often. Through all this we also found out she only has one kidney as well, and used to have submissive urination problems when first out of rescue so...we are kind of hosed all around when it comes to the renal system.


        Original Poster

        KTRider...thank you very much for sharing your experiences. I, too, have been reading on how the meds come in 'eye drop' form and can be expensive; however, I've also learned that the same meds can now be used subcutaneously at a different dosage that cuts the cost by almost half. Good to know, though, that there are options regarding treatment or even the lack thereof.

        He drinks a LOT of water, thus urinating a LOT as well. I swear, he can pee for 5 minutes straight, turn around and pee again for another few minutes. I do worry that, in time, he won't be able to manage me being at work for 9 hours. I can manage incontinence, but I truly don't want him to be uncomfortable or anxious about the possibility of soiling the house (he's a very good boy about housetraining--truly, he would be horrified if he peed on the floor).

        Dehydration in the summer is a huge consideration. I live on the South Carolina/Georgia border. Daily walks are already fairly short for him (20 minutes or so), but he loves his daily 'walkies.' I'd hate to take that away from him.

        Guess I'll know more by the end of the week!! Best of luck to you and your pup as well!
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          Just wondering if you had an ultrasound done? Not that its necessarily the next logical step, but we have seen quite a few cases present PU/PD that have atypical cushings. Its been the theme of the week


            Oh, also meant to mention - I was able to save a lot of money on the meds by filling the rx at Walgreens. They have that Walgreens card you can get for $25 a year, and that saved me about $25-$30 off each refill. They let you get a card for your pet - it was a pharm tech who recommended it actually, after my vet recommended Walgreens to start with. So, another route to explore.

            My girl does daily walks too, no problem, though I try to go late in the day in summer. She also holds up just fine to two hours of dock diving in August, so they don't have to give up the fun stuff! She's 7, so officially a senior now, even though she tries to deny it.


              Vasopressin is really hard to get right now. Unless things have changed in the past week or so. Making DI a bit of trick to confirm, and treat.

              I had a DI kitty some years ago. A barn cat so it was a bit easier to deal with the urinating. I just made sure he always had access to water. Had another friend (non-DVM) that had a DI barn kitty too. Did the same thing.

              Of course for an inside dog the urinating is the logistical problem.

              Good luck. Tough problem.


                Some apparently rare form of hereditary DI runs in my family. I say apparently rare because I never really researched it until 10 minutes ago and turns out it is pretty uncommon. My fiance and I are so lame that we call it "the Hype" as in HYPP (yeah, we're aweome) because it is a dominant gene and you either have it or you don't and if you do you can pass it. Anyways, I luckily do not have "the hype," like some of my other family members, but if dogs are anything like people it can be managed through medication.


                  Original Poster

                  Started Desmopressin Monday afternoon & saw immediate changes in drinking and urinating patterns within 12 hours. I'd been tracking overall water consumption of all 3 dogs over the weekend, and in the last 24 hours, their total consumption has decreased by over 50% (and we are going to attribute the majority of that to the D.I. dog who is now being treated).

                  He seems happier without having a huge bulging bladder most of the day. I'm sure he's more comfortable without having to pee all the time and that's the main reason I chose to treat.

                  We check urine again after 2 weeks of treatment and then try to find the lowest dosage possible from there.
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                    Have you considered those artificial grass pads for dogs, a pee-pad?
                    At petco I saw litterboxes for dogs. That sounds like the humane way to go ( pun intended).


                      Original Poster

                      Chall...I'd discussed the 'potty patch' with some doggy friends of mine just last week. However, since he's responding so well to the treatment, it's quite simple, and he's no longer drinking and urinating like a fiend, it's a bit unnecessary at this point in time. It's definitely a good option, and one that I will consider again, if the need arises.
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