Where the flow of urine is
abnormally abundant, the source of
difficulty is usually in the kidney. By urine analysis the veterinarian
determines just what the ailment of the kidney happens to be, and by
the application of appropriate medications often corrects the
condition. Since the ailments of the kidney are exceedingly technical
and complex, it is sufficient to indicate here that the most common
variety of kidney ailments can be distinguished mainly by urine
analysis, and it is on the basis of the diagnosis made in this manner
that the veterinarian regulates his course of treatment.
But there is another disease complex that is also characterized by an
excessive flow of urine, and this one is of great interest to the
general public because so much has been heard about it. This disease is
diabetes. While it is also of a technical nature, at least a few words
should be said concerning it because it is so well known.
It seems to be fairly common knowledge
that in diabetes there is
elimination of sugar in the urine. It also seems to be well known that,
to counteract the undesirable effects of this sugar in the urine, the
patient has to give himself injections of insulin, which burns up the
sugar so that it is utilized by the body and is not excreted in the
urine. But what is not generally known is that the above condition is
what is called diabetes mellitus; and that there is also another form
of diabetes called
diabetes insipidus, in which there is no sugar in the urine and for
which it is not necessary to give injections of insulin. Both these
forms of diabetes are diseases that are long-lasting and usually fatal.
In the early stages of both these diseases there is an excessive thirst
and good appetite.
Otherwise the affected animal appears quite normal.
But gradually, in spite of its good appetite, the affected animal
becomes thinner and thinner until it finally looks quite emaciated. In
diabetes mellitus, there may also appear ulcerations of the surface of
the eyeballs or the formation of cataracts. There may also be signs of
vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bronchitis, penumonia, ulceration of
the skin, and excessive falling hair.
Diabetes mellitus is caused essentially by some disturbance in the
pancreas in which the organ loses its ability to secrete a substance
called insulin, thereby disrupting the whole sugar metabolism. The
cause of diabetes insipidus is much more uncertain. It has been
observed during the convalescence of certain infectious diseases; it
may be associated with certain diseases of the nervous system; it may
sometimes result from a cold, liver or spinal damage, certain irritant
medicine, or from infection.
In any case these two forms of diabetes can be distinguished by urine
analysis since sugar is present in the mellitus form and absent in the
insipidus form. Both these forms can be distinguished from simple
abundant urination resulting from drinking too much water. In the
latter instance, if the water intake is controlled, the abundant
urinations (polyuria) cease.
Diabetes mellitus in dogs can be treated with insulin in very much the
same way as are human beings. If the owner really loves his animal, and
is willing to undergo the inconvenience of the routine of daily
injections of insulin, then the animal will often live to a ripe old
age. In most instances, however, the average owner does not have the
stomach for this and has the dog put to sleep. In diabetes insipidus,
various tonics and stimulants are administered, but these are almost
invariably unsuccessful. The affected animal becomes further emaciated
and finally dies. The new oral anti-diabetic drugs should simplify the
treatment of diabetes mellitus cases.