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Water Diabetes or Diabetes Insipidus

When we discuss diabetes, the most common disease we think about is diabetes mellitus, also called insulin or sugar, diabetes. There is a less common form of diabetes, called diabetes insipidus (DI). It is a disorder that affects water metabolism in the body, that prevents the body from conserving water. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus are both characterized by increased urination and increased thirst. Owners will often comment that their dogs are always looking for water and drinking far more than they did in the past. A 20-kilogram dog with DI would be expected to drink more than 2 litres of water a day.

There are two main types of DI are:

  1. Central diabetes insipidus – where there is a lack of the hormone vasopressin, produced by the pituitary gland.
  2. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus – where the kidneys don’t respond to the hormone vasopressin.

Causes of central diabetes insipidus can include head trauma, tumours, infections or they may arise from unknown causes, any disease that affects the kidney may cause nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, although it is a fairly rare disease.

If your pet is drinking more frequently, we will perform a complete physical exam and obtain a thorough history. We will also do a urinalysis and blood work, to rule out other causes of increased thirst. If we are suspicious that your pet may have DI, we may recommend a modified water deprivation test. If the cause is found to be neurogenic DI, the condition may be treated by supplementing with the hormone vasopressin. Long-term prognosis is generally good but does depend on the underlying cause of the disease. It is usually a permanent condition unless temporary head trauma caused it.

These pets should always have plenty of fresh water available, as dehydration can occur quickly and cause serious health concerns.

Written by Dr. Corkum, DVM

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The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: September 15, 2021

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