Water consumption in the dog and cat serves the primary function to maintain hydration in the body. Excessive water consumption may be due to a medical concern or a result of a behavioral problem. Either way, concern for the animal as well as dealing with excessive urination makes this a concern which is not easy to ignore.
The medical conditions involving excessive water consumption generally involve either the body’s need for more fluid to either filter or dilute toxins in the blood or the lack of proper hormone control for water regulation. This can happen when the function of the kidneys starts to become compromised. Inflammation in the body can sometimes induce excessive thirst either from the body’s response to toxins and/or response to an elevated temperature. Diseases where the body is not producing the correct level of hormones can cause excessive water intake as a sign. Diabetes and Cushings disease are two diseases where the body may be stimulated to drink excessive water as the result of abnormal hormone stimulation.
Excessive water consumption can also be caused by behavioral changes. A cause often seen is boredom stimulating multiple trips to the water bowl. The animal may be healthy physically, but simply develops the vice due to boredom. There are also neurological changes which can produce excessive water consumption as a sign.
Given the potential for a medical problem, performing some diagnostics are recommended if excessive water consumption is a concern. Once the results of bloodwork are known, further diagnostics such a radiographs, an ultrasound exam, or hormonal testing may be indicated.
If you have any questions or concerns about excessive water consumption please feel free to call the clinic.