Well, I wanted to relay some pet info after speaking with someone at a cafe the other day. An acquaintance had an appointment for her cat to come into Alicia Pet Clinic due to increased water intake, but she ended up cancelling the appointment after one of her friends told her that there was nothing to worry about. What a great friend!!! Yikes. Of course everyone has an opinion but it is so interesting to me how someone can know very little about veterinary medicine and give advice that is going to actually make things worse. Is the friend trying to save her from spending money? I would guess that to be the case. In so doing, she is setting this cat owner up to continue to ignore the problem and allow it to get worse.
So, lets go over increased water intake in dogs and cats. The list includes about 12 things but the main culprits are chronic kidney failure, diabetes, liver failure, hyperthyroidism (cats), cushing’s disease (dogs), kidney infection or urinary tract infection. The others are uncommon and I will just leave them out of the conversation for now. This older cat most likely will have chronic kidney failure (also known as chronic renal failure or CRF) due to the fact that it is still eating and not losing weight. If it was losing weight and with an increased appetite, it would likely be either diabetes or hyperthyroidism. If it had a poor appetite it could be liver disease or severe CRF. These are the kinds of things that you don’t want to allow to continue to progress without treatment. I have seen very good success in the last year with using benazapril in the early kidney failure cats to slow down the progression of disease. There are many other treatments possible for the cats with chronic kidney failure if they start to have symptoms other than increased water intake.
Bottom line: Bring in the pet with increased water intake! Delaying a diagnosis and the resulting management of the disease can take a lot of time off of your pet’s life and end up limiting the treatment options available. After a physical examination of the kitty is performed, labwork will be submitted for analysis which will likely reveal the problem. Its a pretty simple diagnosis to make in most cases and usually will not break the bank. It always frustrates me to hear stories like this one because there is so much that we can do to help these little guys age more gracefully and avoid getting really sick really fast.
You can read more about increased drinking in cats here.
You can read more about increased drinking in dogs here.
You can read more about chronic kidney failure in cats here.
Dr. Matthew Wheaton