Is your dog or cat always thirsty?
One of the most common presentations of a developing illness in both dogs and cats is a chronic increased thirst or urination. And while thirst can certainly be a function of the type of diet a pet is eating, animal guardians should definitely bring their pets in for a physical exam and workup when they start having to fill the pet’s water bowl more frequently on a chronic basis.
Most veterinarians will run a baseline of tests to include a CBC/blood chemistry/thyroid profile, as well as a urine analysis and possibly a urine culture. If an answer is not readily apparent from this initial baseline of tests, then other testing such as x-rays or ultrasound may be needed. Often the increased thirst and urination can be accompanied by weight loss with the occasional exception of a hormonal disease of the adrenal glands called Cushing’s disease, where a pet will often develop a distended abdomen and weight gain. Besides this adrenal gland problem (most commonly seen in dogs) other metabolic conditions of the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and thyroid glands can all be potential causes of the excessive thirst and urination. In senior patients, we always have to keep in mind the possibility for various cancerous processes as well.
For my feline clients, I often warn them that when a cat is asking for water out of the faucet and/or seen at the water dish frequently, they should consider a full veterinary evaluation, and also switch to a species-appropriate wet food or meat diet. This is because many cat owners may be under the mistaken assumption that dry food diets are better for them. In addition, both diabetes and hyperthyroidism are very common endocrine or hormonal disorders seen in aging cats.
Once your veterinarian arrives at a diagnosis of the problem, appropriate long term medical treatment, dietary therapy, and nutritional supplements can often be helpful in managing the problem. For diabetic dogs and cats, the newer Vetsulin Insulin is often a first choice for our feline friends. If liver disease is suspected or confirmed, in some cases it may accompany disorders of the pancreas like diabetes or pancreatitis. There is a wonderful endocrine package deal carried by 1800PetMeds that includes a variety of broad spectrum supplements that may help in the long term management of many of these disorders. The endocrine package includes antioxidant Proanthozone, an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement and a probiotic, all packaged together at a very reasonable price.