There are three basic causes for diabetes insipidus (DI): a defect in antidiuretic hormone (ADH); a defect in the kidney’s response to ADH; or psychogenic polydipsia.

The opening in a GE Signa MRI machine © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons
One method of diagnosing diabetes insipidus. Image © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

The diagnosis of DI can be challenging. Tests include:

  1. blood and urine tests – complete panels to rule out diabetes mellitus, kidney and liver disease
  2. a water deprivation test and/or a modified water deprivation test to determine if the symptoms are caused by psychogenic polydipsia, a defect in ADH, or a defect in the kidney’s response to ADH (the animal must be properly hydrated, hospitalised, and screened for kidney disease prior to doing a water deprivation test)
  3. a desmopressin stimulation test
  4. pituitary hormone levels
  5. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
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