Causes of Increased Thirst and Urination in Animals

Increased thirst which is call polydypsia (PD) and increased urination which is called polyuria (PU) can be caused by many, many things. Sometimes PU/PD is the sign of something serious.  Here is a list of the most common causes of increased thirst and urination I see in my practice.  I have ranked them from most common to least common.  If you observe a sudden change in your pet’s drinking or urinating, please seek medical attention right away.  

-Urinary tract infections
-Drug induced.  Steroids commonly cause increased thirst and appetite.
-Renal disease or failure due to primary renal disease, toxins, drugs, infections causing pylonephritis and leptospirosis
-Diabetes melitis
-Diet especially those that are formulated to treat or prevent stone formation.
-Hyperadrenocorticism which is also called Cushings Disease
-Hypoadrenalcorticism which is also called Addisons Disease
-Increased calcium associated with cancer
-Diabetes insipidus
-Liver disease
-Congenital abnormalities including renal dysplasia

Other rare causes of increased thirst and urination include:
-Renal medullary solute washout
-Primary glucosuria
-Idiopathic which means the cause is undetermined

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

2 replies on “Causes of Increased Thirst and Urination in Animals”

  1. Hi Dr. Nelson…You are always so helpful! My dog is diabetic and has developed uveitis because of the diabetes. He is on a steroid eye drop (plus 2 other eye drops) and he is thirsty and urinating a lot more (plus his glucose is up). The blood work is showing out of range on kidney and liver numbers since being on the steroid eye drops for 2 months. Your explanation about the steroid causing issues mights be my answer? Thank You so much for all of your help/information…

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