Catalina Pet Hospital
As discussed in previous blogs, cats do not give us many symptoms when they are ill. One of the few sets of easily recognized symptoms is increased water consumption (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria). These symptoms often go hand in hand, usually due to diseases that prevent the kidneys from properly concentrating the urine and therefore increasing thirst. An exception is an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), where the cat compulsively drinks water. The other two most common reasons in the cat for increased thirst and urination are kidney disease and diabetes. Less commonly, cats will have certain cancers, adrenal diseases, infections, or hormone/electrolyte abnormalities causing the polyuria and polydipsia.
Luckily the top 3 diseases are easily diagnosed with routine blood and urine tests. The sooner these diseases are diagnosed, the more likely we are able to avoid complications and to slow the progression of the disease. These are treatable diseases, not just old age changes. Treating kidney disease involves things such as maintaining proper hydration, feeding prescription food formulas, addressing any infections or electrolyte abnormalities, and monitoring for nausea and blood pressure changes. Diabetes treatment initially involves insulin administration, diet changes, and addressing underlying infections, with some cats eventually going into diabetic remission and no longer requiring insulin. Treating hyperthyroidism can be achieved with low iodine diets, oral medication, radioactive iodine treatment, and rarely surgical removal of the thyroid gland.