What is water diabetes in Labradors?
Diabetes insipidus or water diabetes in Labradors is a rare disorder that prevents the body from conserving fluids. The disease is also marked by excessive urination. It is different from diabetes mellitus or diabetes caused by excessive blood sugar.
Water diabetes in Labradors can be of two types.
- Neurogenic or brain related: Caused by brain injury, brain tumor, or dysfunction in the release of the hormone responsible for regulating water retention in the body.
- Nephrogenic or kidney related: Caused by failure of kidneys to respond properly following the lack of antidiuretic hormone.
What are causes of water diabetes in Labradors?
The reasons may range from injury to brain tumor and medicines. Neurogenic water diabetes occurs due to inadequate supply or production of the hormone vasopressin. This hormone is responsible for regulating water retention in the body. Vasopressin is formed in the hypothalamus and is transported to the pituitary gland, which releases it into the bloodstream. Brain injury, tumor, any other factor obstructing the release of vasopressin may result in the disorder.
Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is attributed to a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone stimulates the capillary muscles and reduces the urine flow to conserve water for various functions of the body. When your Labrador has reduced production of this hormone, his kidneys may be unable to respond appropriately allowing too much fluid to escape from the body.
This type of water diabetes is often acquired and is possibly due to
- cysts on the kidney
- amyloidosis of the kidney
There are many other possible causes of water diabetes in Labradors.
- Congenital defect
- Head trauma
- Brain tumor or cancer
- Medication side effect
- Overactive adrenal gland
- Chronic kidney failure
What are common symptoms of water diabetes in Labradors?
Common symptoms of water diabetes include:
- excessive thirst
- increased urination
- decreased urination accompanied with dehydration
- occasional incontinence
- dull coat
How is water diabetes diagnosed?
The vet examines your Labrador’s body and asks you a series of questions about your Lab’s diet, drinking and urinating habit, health history, and more. He may recommend complete blood count, blood chemical profile, urinalysis, and electrolyte panel tests. To monitor water loss in the body, a modified water deprivation test or an ADH supplementation trial may also be done. Hospitalization is needed to do a modified water deprivation test, while ADH supplementation may be performed in an outpatient setting.
If the veterinarian suspects the presence of tumor in your Labrador’s brain, kidney, or pituitary gland, he may suggest for a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).
How is water diabetes treated?
Vasopressin injections are given to help manage neurogenic water diabetes. However, the prognosis depends on the severity of the underlying cause.
Desmopressin acetate, a synthetic analog of the antidiuretic hormone, is often used to treat and manage nephrogenic water diabetes. It is available as nasal drops.
In most cases, diabetes insipidus is a permanent condition except in a few patients when the disease was caused by trauma. With proper treatment of the underlying problem, the prognosis can be good.