Have you noticed your pet drinking or urinating more recently?

1st February 2018

Polydipsia and Polyuria

Polydipsia refers to an increase in water consumption, whilst polyuria refers to a higher than normal urine production. If your pet is showing signs of either, they should be checked to make sure that they're not an indication of a more serious underlying medical problem.

Don’t ignore any of these signs;

  • Drinking more frequently
  • Drinking for a longer period of time
  • Spending more time at the water bowl
  • Seeking out and drinking from other water sources (eg. puddles)
  • Urinating inside the house despite being house trained
  • Urinating in their litter tray more often than usual (cats)
  • Urinating the normal number of times but for a lot longer
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What could be causing these signs?

The conditions we need to check for include;

  • Kidney disease – e.g. chronic kidney failure, acute kidney failure
  • Liver disease – e.g. shunts or liver cancer (neoplasia)
  • Hormonal disorders – e.g. Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, Too much or too little thyroid hormone
  • Hypercalcaemia – high levels of calcium in the blood will make an animal drink more water. These levels are often associated with cancers.
  • Bleeding disorders - e.g. rat poisoning, splenic tumours, haemolytic anaemia
  • Dehydration – this can be caused by numerous conditions such as vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Heat Stress – when dogs become too hot in the summer, they will pant excessively to lose heat. In so doing they also lose fluids and can become dehydrated
  • Poisonings – toxins produced by some plant material can damage vital organs

Finding the cause - what do we do next?

Our vets will carry out a full examination and take a detailed history. Be prepared, as we’ll ask lots of questions. We may also perform some essential clinical tests such as;

  • Blood tests – any animal drinking more or urinating more frequently will need a comprehensive blood test. We’ll be able to check organ function, blood cells and electrolytes.
  • Urine tests – we measure the urine concentration; check for blood, protein, glucose, crystals and bacteria.
  • Imaging – if indicated our vets will also take x-rays and image the bladder and kidneys using an ultrasound scanner. Some cases will also be referred for a scan (CT or MRI).
  • Specialised hormone blood tests – if we suspect or need to rule out an endocrine disease such as Cushing’s disease or hyperthyroidism, we may recommend specific diagnostic tests. Our vets will always discuss with you the reasons why and how the tests may help.
  • Water Deprivation Test – this would be used to confirm if your pet is urinating an excessive amount of water.

Your pet may not be ill

Increased water consumption and urination are often an indication of disease, but not always. There are a number of different circumstances that can make your pet drink or urinate more frequently without them being ill, so it’s important to take into account other factors such as;

  • Diet – animals fed a dry diet will drink more, whilst those fed sachet or tinned food will get most of their water from the meal
  • Species – cats are better at water conservation. They drink and urinate less than dogs
  • Age – younger animals (kittens & puppies) are more active and tend to drink and urinate more.
  • Activity / exercise – an animal exercising more will usually have a higher water intake
  • Weather – in the summer, dogs will usually drink more to replace fluid lost through panting

If you think or know that your pet is drinking more, it’s time to take action.

Contact us and make an appointment

If you can, bring along a fresh urine sample from your pet in a clean sterile container. You can always collect a sterile pot from us at Bollington Veterinary Centre.