Why Is My Cat Drinking So Much Water?

Drinking water is a natural part of living.  The most common reason why cats drink water is because they’re thirsty.  Cats are very efficient in their internal water conservation which is one of the reasons why their urine has a pungent smell to it.  A normal, healthy cat will drink between 10-30 ml/kg daily.  Cats that eat dry food may drink a little more, but we do recommend feeding cats moist food to help maintain their water consumption.  Your cat should always have access to clean, fresh water. Polydipsia is the medical term utilized to describe increased water consumption.  If you notice your cat drinking more water it’s important to not dismiss it as it’s often the first sign that something has changed with your cat’s internal function. Increased water consumption is a result of 3 things:
  • Compensatory – drinking more due to exercise or increased temperature; vomiting or diarrhea leading to water loss and compensatory drinking; food with increased salt leading to increased consumption.
  • Pathological – drinking more water due to excessive water loss from a medical problem. Generally more of a chronic, ongoing problem.
  • Behavioral – drinking more water due to a behavioral problem. Behavioral polydipsia is a diagnosis by exclusion meaning we have ruled out all other reasons for increased water consumption.
The three most common reasons why cats drink more water are:
  • Kidney disease – Kidney disease is the most common diagnoses ailment in older cats. The initial signs of renal disease include increased water consumption and increased urination (polydipsia, polyuria or PU/PD for short), decreased appetite, and weight loss.  While we cannot cure chronic kidney disease, there is a lot we can do to help manage it, and early diagnosis is critical.
  • Diabetes Mellitus – Cats develop diabetes similar to Type 2 diabetes in people. The initial signs of diabetes in cats are increased water consumption, increased appetite, and weight loss.  Early diagnosis is critical to prevent a medical crisis.  Diabetes is more common in overweight cats.
  • Hyperthyroidism – A common endocrine disorder in older cats hyperthyroidism leads to increased energy, increased water consumption, and a big appetite coupled with weight loss.
Any time you and your veterinarian are suspect of increased water consumption your veterinarian will want to run bloodwork and urine work to try to diagnose the reason why.  The sooner you and your veterinarian know why your cat is drinking more and urinating more the sooner a treatment plan can be created to increase the chance of a positive outcome.  If you have questions about why your cat is drinking a lot of water please contact The Vet Set team.

Why Is My Dog Drinking A Lot Of Water?

Drinking water is a natural part of living.  The most common reason why dogs drink water is because they’re thirsty.  It’s important when it’s hot out or when your dog has completed exercising that your dog has access to fresh, clean water.  We never recommend limiting access to your dog’s water.  Dogs do not sweat (except from their nose and paws), so when they’re hot from either the environment or exercise they control their body temperature by panting.  Excessive panting leads to water loss through physiologic evaporation, but the water loss can easily be replenished by drinking fresh water. If you feel that your dog is drinking too much it’s time to investigate why.  There are a variety of medical conditions where a dog cannot control water loss even at normal temperatures causing the dog to drink more and thereby urinate more to compensate for the water loss.  In general a dog should drink about 40-60ml/kg of water a day.  Any less and the dog can become dehydrated, and any more it’s indicative that your dog could have an underlying condition leading to an imbalance of water intake/output. Increased water consumption (polydipsia) is often associated with a myriad of systemic diseases including:
  • Kidney or liver dysfunction
  • Endocrine disorders including but not limited to Cushing’s disease or diabetes mellitus
  • Severe electrolyte imbalances
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pyometra (a serious uterine infection)
  • Cancer
It’s important to have your dog evaluated by your veterinarian if you think they’re drinking more water than usual.  Your veterinarian will perform bloodwork, an urinalysis, and an urine culture to rule out an urinary tract infection.  Many times a dog that is polidypsic will have a secondary urinary tract infection requiring treatment.  Continued excessive water consumption doesn’t happen just because your dog is thirsty.  There is a reason for it, and it’s important not to ignore it. On occasion a dog can have a behavioral problem that manifests itself as a dog drinking excessive amounts of water.  Some bored puppies or water loving breeds can sometimes drink excessively leading to problems with housebreaking and increased urination.  Sorting out behavioral water drinking from a medical condition can be a challenge for your veterinarian. The sooner you and your veterinarian diagnose why your dog is drinking more water the sooner your veterinary team can help manage the problem and send your dog on a path to better health.  The Vet Set team is experienced in managing these dogs, and if you need help please let us know!

Spring Into Wellness This April 17th!

Dr. Taylor Truitt of The Vet Set will be at Fresh Paws Bath House to help get your dog ready for spring!  Schedule your 30 minute customized wellness exam for $79 along with vaccines, heartworm testing, flea, tick and heartworm preventative and more! Bagels, mimosas, and coffee for the humans!  Homemade dog treats from Evermore Pet Food for the dogs!  Bring all your veterinary questions, your favorite dog, and your favorite human for this fun and educational event! Email The Vet Set at info@vetset.net to schedule your appointment slot or call (917) 741-4737! Fresh Paws Bath House 544 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211  

Cat Person, Dog Person, Or Neither? What Your Pet Says About Your Personality

The type of pet species that you own may be a reflection of your personality traits.  Dr. Taylor Truitt weighs in on our pet selection and our personality type.  Read more at Medical Daily.

When Should I Consider Euthanasia For My Pet?

Deciding when it’s the right time to say goodbye to your pet is one of the hardest decisions we make as pet owners.  For some, it’s a difficult, but an obvious decision based upon the pet’s deteriorating condition.  But for other pets with chronic ailments the decision can be hazy.   As a veterinarian it’s important to me to have an ongoing conversation and dialog with my pet parents about the pet’s quality of life.  My belief is quality of life is more important than quantity of life during the final few days, weeks, or months.  But we need to have a way to assess how a pet is doing and evaluate their quality of life.  Veterinarian Dr. Katie Hilst developed the JOURNEY’s Quality of Life Scale for pets.  Utilizing the important facets of quality of life listed below we can quantify a pet’s quality of life.
  • She is experiencing chronic pain that cannot be controlled with medication (your veterinarian can help you determine if your pet is in pain)
  • He has frequent vomiting &/or diarrhea that is causing dehydration &/or weight loss.
  • She has stopped eating or will only eat if your force feed her
  • She is incontinent to the point that she frequently soils herself
  • She has lost interest in all or most of her favorite activities, such as going for walks, playing with toys or other pets, eating treats or soliciting attention and petting from family members.
  • She cannot stand on her own or falls down when trying to walk
  • She has chronic labored breathing or coughing
If your pet is experience one or more of these in varying degrees using the JOURNEY scale can help quantify your pet’s quality of life; however, it’s still important to have an open dialog with your veterinarian.  Your veterinarian can help counsel you and support you during this difficult decision.

What to expect…

  Euthanasia is quick, painless, and peaceful.  I truly believe we treat our terminally ill pets with compassion with the goal of alleviating pain and suffering allowing our pets to die peacefully at home with their loved ones.  Your veterinarian will explain what medications will be given to your pet.  Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about your pet’s euthanasia.  In-home euthanasia can take place wherever you wish in your home.  In some situations your veterinarian may want to set an IV catheter to ensure the vein is patent.  In many cases, a trained veterinary technician will hold your pet for the procedure. The veterinary technician has the skill needed to properly hold your pet so that the process goes quickly and smoothly.  Your veterinarian and technician will need space to work and keep your pet comfortable, but they will assist you in finding a place where your pet can see, hear, and feel you. The Vet Set veterinarians administer pets a sedative prior to administering the euthanasia solution.  Many terminally ill pets are in chronic pain and distress, and the sedative helps them relax for their final moments.  The euthanasia solution used is an overdose sodium pentobarbital which quickly causes unconsciousness and then gently stops the heartbeat.  The euthanasia solution is given IV either in the front or back leg at your veterinarian’s discretion.  The injection itself is not painful.  Once the injection is given the heart stops beating in a matter of seconds to minutes.  Your veterinarian will confirm your pet’s heart has stopped beating by listening with a stethoscope.  It’s not uncommon for mild muscle twitching to take place, or for the bowels or bladder to empty.  This is not cause for concern.  Your veterinarian will then ask if you want some time alone with your pet.

Saying Goodbye

  Once you’ve made the difficult decision to euthanize your pet all family members should have the time to say their private goodbyes.  Putting your pet to sleep can be the first exposure your children have to death, and explaining and helping them through the grieving process is important.  Books that address the subject, such as When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers or Remembering My Pet by Machama Liss-Levinson and Molly Phinney Baskette, may be very beneficial in helping your child to deal with this loss.  The euthanasia itself is very personal, and your veterinarian is there to help support you in this difficult time.  It’s important that you and your pet are comfortable for a home euthanasia.  Other pets in the household are generally aware that their companion is ill.  Some pets will want to be near and some will want to sniff them after the euthanasia, and I believe this behavior is normal and warranted.  I also think it helps with the other pet’s grieving process of losing their companion.

Pet Cremation and Burial

  The Vet Set will help you coordinate how to have your pet’s body handled.  Cremation is the most common request, and you can decide whether you wish to have your pet’s ashes returned to you in a private cremation.  Burial is another but less common choice for your pet.  Burial in the backyard is sometimes considered, but check with your local ordinances.

Grieving

  Losing a pet is just as hard as losing a family member or close friend.  Grief can come in all shapes and forms, and it can surface in waves.  Sadly, some people don’t understand the pain that comes from losing a pet, but most people have compassion for the impact pet loss can have on your life.  Some people seek out counseling, and there are people who specialize in pet bereavement.  If you’re having a difficult time please reach out to your family, friends, or veterinarian for support.  There’s no reason you should grieve alone.   Euthanasia is a final gift of compassion to our terminally ill pets.  We are able to make the decision with our veterinarian when it’s appropriate to take away their pain and suffering.  It’s a difficult decision, and one that should be undertaken with the guidance of your veterinarian.  If you have further questions about your pet’s quality of life or home euthanasia please reach out to The Vet Set or your veterinarian.

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To make an appointment, please call us at (917) 741-4737 or
email us at info@vetset.net.

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