What to make of a cat who is drinking and urinating more

The two most common causes of increased drinking and urinating in cats are diabetes mellitus and renal disease, writes veterinarian Jeff Kahler. In the case of diabetes, treatment usually involves insulin injections, which are generally well-tolerated by both owners and cats, Dr. Kahler notes.

Sandra is worried that her cat Chia might have diabetes. Over the past month or so, she has noticed Chia at the water bowl with ever-increasing frequency, and the results of the water intake in his litter box. Having done research on the Internet, Sandra picked diabetes as the likely diagnosis for Chia’s increased thirst.

Increased thirst when associated with increased urination is indeed a hallmark symptom for diabetes mellitus in cats, and dogs. But diabetes is not the only possible cause. In cats, renal disease also is a common cause of these symptoms.

I want to emphasize that cats do not drink for fun or enjoyment. If there is an increase in water intake, there is an underlying reason.

Chia will need to visit his veterinarian for a blood panel, urinalysis and a spot check of his blood sugar level. With these results, we can determine if he is a diabetic or if he has renal disease. While diabetes is manageable with insulin therapy, renal disease is managed in an entirely different way, depending on the extent of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Realize, of course, these are not the only possible causes for Chia’s symptoms. They are, however, the two most likely possibilities.

Let’s assume Sandra is correct and Chia has diabetes. Blood work will show an elevated sugar level because Chia does not have enough insulin in his body to drive sugar in his blood into his cells, where it is used as an energy source. As the blood sugar elevates, it increases what is known as the oncotic pressure within the blood. This increased oncotic pressure is perceived by the brain and the brain tells the cat to drink more water, in essence trying to dilute the blood. This increased fluid within the blood is then filtered by the kidneys, which produce excess urine as a result.

Treatment for diabetes involves the use of insulin to replace the lack of it from the pancreas. There are cases of diabetes that occur in hugely obese cats that can be controlled long term without insulin as long as the weight problem is addressed. Most cases, however, require insulin therapy.

Insulin is given by injection, usually twice daily. This can be daunting for some caretakers. But with proper demonstration in technique, it can be quite simple. In fact, for the vast majority of people with diabetic pets I have dealt with over the years, insulin injections have become as routine as feeding their pets.

Early in the course of therapy, we like to monitor the patient’s response to the insulin by checking blood sugar values throughout the day. This will allow fine tuning of the dosing to fit the individual patient. I have many caretakers who even learn to check their cat’s blood sugar.

There are cats that will not allow insulin treatment and, as a result, successful treatment becomes unlikely. These cats face a grave prognosis. If Chia is diabetic and is amenable to insulin therapy, he’ll have a good quality of life.

(Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto, Calif. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto CA 95352.)

Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/22/2962750/pet-vet-exam-will-diagnose-reason.html#storylink=cpy

Leave a Reply