Didn’t I Just Fill That Water Bowl?

One of the most common complaints that owners bring their older pets into the clinic for is a change in their water intake. It usually comes on gradually, but they finally realize their pet is drinking more water and as a result peeing more often. Sometimes, owners don’t necessarily notice the increased water intake but will bring them in because they pick up on the fact that they are asking to go outside more or are having accidents in the house which never used to happen. In the veterinary world, we call this problem polyuria (increased urination) and polydipsia (increased thirst), or being PU/PD.

A Multitude of Causes

What exactly causes a pet to be PU/PD? The list is quite extensive but to name a few:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Addison’s disease

Any of these conditions are possible when you bring your pet in for drinking more water. The bigger question is how do we sort it out?

Bloodwork is a Necessity

The easiest starting point to diagnose your pet’s condition is to run routine lab work including a CBC, Chemistry, and a Urinalysis. Sometimes we get an answer right away – such as in the case of diabetes mellitus or kidney disease. Other times, the bloodwork will give us clues as to what is going on, but additional tests are needed. Cushing’s disease is a great example of this scenario. This condition requires a specialized test to confirm but we can get indicators, such as elevations in liver enzymes or cholesterol, that can start to clue us in to the underlying problem. Bottom line is that generally all veterinarians will start with baseline diagnostics to try and figure out what specific condition is affecting your pet. If they cannot figure it out right away additional tests or an ultrasound may be needed to get the answer. 

Will it Ever Get Better?

Most of the time the first question that owners ask me is if something can be done to help their pet. The clinical signs of being PU/PD is often what is most frustrating to owners because that is what they see. No one is happy about having to clean up accidents on their favorite rug or waking up in the middle of the night to let their pet out. In general, the answer is yes. Once we figure out exactly what the problem is we can usually do something to help. For example, in the case of diabetes we can prescribe insulin, or there are pills that can be taken daily to help with Cushing’s disease. Most of these conditions do tend to be lifelong but often are manageable. The key is understanding the problem and what can be done to help.

If you notice that your pet is drinking more water than normal or peeing more frequently make an appointment with our staff to get it figured out. We are happy to walk you through the process and help manage any condition that may be diagnosed! Make an appointment today!