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Dr. K
Dr. K, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My older dog seems to be drinking a lot of water lately. Should

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My older dog seems to be drinking a lot of water lately. Should I worry about this? Also, every once in awhile, there is a small amount of blood in my dog's stool. Does this have anything to do with the pancreatitis she had some time back? Again, should I take her to the vet. After the $1,700 fee for the pancreatitis, I don't want to run off to the vet unless it's necessary.

If your dog is drinking alot of water, then she absolutely should be taken to the vet to be examined.
Drinking and urinating excessively can be a symptom of a number of different ailments, but the most common are diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, Addison's disease and hypercalcemia (usually secondary to cancer). Other, more rare causes, include diabetes insipidus and psychogenic polyuria and polydipisia.

The first step is to take you dog into the veterinarian for a physical examination. Some blood and urine tests should be done to evaluate for kidney disease, diabetes and signs of the other problems. To diagnose Cushing's or Addison's further, more specific, blood tests would need to be done. Cancer is usually diagnosed with abdominal ultrasound and chest X-rays.

If all of these tests yield no findings, then the dog should be evaluated for diabetes insipidus. This is a disease that is caused by a decrease in the synthesis or secretion of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone). This can happen secondary to a brain tumor, or it can be idiopathic (of unknown cause). There is also nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, in which the kidneys do not respond to ADH. The central diabetes insipidus can be tested for with a trial therapy with ADH. This is a treatable disease.

Psychogenic polyuria and polydipsia is exactly what it sounds like-the dog just drinks excessive amounts of water because it likes to, and therefore urinates excessively. This is not really a disease, but just an annoyance to the owner.

As far as the blood in her stool goes...this may be nothing. If it only happens once in awhile, then it is likely just due to some mild irritation. If it is happening reuglarly, then it should be further investigated. She may have a parasite, or a problem with one of her anal glands. Colitis or rectal polyps can also cause blood in the stool. I doubt that it would be related to the pancreatitis.

I hope that this information is of help to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your dog.

Dr. K

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