diabetes insipidus

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True Story
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diabetes insipidus

Post by True Story »

Does anyone on this site have a Brittany that has been diagnosed with diabetes insipidus? This is generally an inherited disorder where the dog is unable to concentrate urine, urine volume is very high and the urine is very dilute--almost clear like water. Initial symptoms are increased thirst, and urinating in the house--which some may think is a behavioral problem, urinating frequently. This occurs when the pituitary gland stops producing or does not produce enough of the ADH hormone needed to concentrate urine--this hormone is needed to aid in the concentration of urine to help relieve excess toxins in the body. Our Britt was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus at a 1 1/2. He is now on the replacement hormone desmopressin 3x a day. His dose was determined by our vet based on specific gravity tests they take of the urine. We now have him on a set schedule and bought a refractometer(which is used to measure the specific gravity of urine) so we know for sure he is recieving the correct dose. The specific gravity of a healthy dog should be somewhere around 1.025 or higher. When our pup was first diagnosed his numbers would fluctuate from 1.002-1.005--he was very sick. On good days he may register 1.015, sometimes as high as 1.022. Wondered if anyone out there has gone through this with their Britt? The medication is very expensive 90 pills run us around $290, but he only recieves 1 and 1/4 pill each day. Medication can also be given in the form of eye drops, nasal spray, or shots. He does well on the pill, and we know he is getting his full dose. I also wondered if a lot of dogs in the Brittany rescue have been diagnosed with this genetic illness. I ask that question wondering if dogs are turned in because of housebreaking problems and they go undiagnosed and also because the treatment for this illness is expensive.

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Post by Lisa »

If I recall correctly, diabetes insipidus is not a terribly common disease in Britts. I know of one, maybe two, off the top of my head that are diabetic and are rescues. The one I know of for sure, I think she was a stray. I rarely hear that a Britt is being given up for housebreaking issues...usually the excuse given is that they're too high energy.

So sorry you're having to struggle through this with your Britt.
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diabetes insipidus

Post by True Story »

Diabetes insipidus is rare, but through our research we have discovered DI is a much more frequent genetic problem in the Brittany then reported. Research shows most breeders do not want to publically acknowledge that they have experienced DI--openess is the key. Diabetes insipidus is being researched by Dr Mark Neffs research team at UC Davis--The Center for Brittany DNA Studies. They ask anyone who's Brittany is diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, along with the dam, sire, or any siblings to send DNA samples. Most people send cheek swabs, but blood samples provide much more DNA to work with. If they can find a genetic marker, they may, in the future be able to develop a genetic test for Diabetes insipidus in the Brittany.

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Re: diabetes insipidus

Post by Barb Wright »

True Story wrote:Diabetes insipidus is rare, but through our research we have discovered DI is a much more frequent genetic problem in the Brittany then reported. Research shows most breeders do not want to publically acknowledge that they have experienced DI--openess is the key.
Since DI is fairly rare, I certainly would be interested in having your research sources that indicate it is a "more frequent genetic problem in the Brittany....". And also what your research sources are that indicate the Breeders that do not "publically acknowledge" the problem.

Just seems like if it is rare it is not a "problem" in the breed, but, if it is "your" dog then of course it IS a problem, for you.

In any event, nutritional support of the kidneys would seem to be a high priority. And I do have another question.....was a UTI totally ruled out by a Urine Culture and Sensitivity test??? Just sort of wondering????
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

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Re: diabetes insipidus

Post by Barb Wright »

True Story wrote:... This is generally an inherited disorder....
This is a narrow and inaccurate statement in that it lacks full disclosure. See these quotes:

http://www.mindspring.com/~pjs4/di-whatisit.html
Causes can be:
Genetic - it can be passed through the generations
Congenital - If the animal is born with the problem, no matter what its actual cause is, it is called a congenital condition
Trauma - usually to the head
Tumor - usually brain
Unknown - also called idiopathic

http://www.vetinfo.com/dencyclopedia/dedibetinsp.html
"This problem can occur for a number of reasons and for no reason at all. Examples of predisposing causes are kidney failure, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Disease), hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's Disease) liver disease, pyometra and others. These things affect the kidney's ability to respond. Head trauma or brain cancer can affect the body's ability to produce (the hormone) ADH."

I found the above concensus at quite a few sites.

And further to be considered are the two different types of DI. Here is are two good concise examples:

http://www.mirage-samoyeds.com/diabetes2.htm
"....DI exists to two forms, Central Diabetes Insipidus (CDI) and Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus (NDI). CDI and partial CDI can be either congenital (existing since birth) or acquired later in life. Dogs of any age, sex and breed are at risk for CDI. On the other hand, NDI is a rare genetic disorder, usually diagnosed in younger animals." (Emphasis mine.)

http://www.petdiabetes.org/diabetes_insipidus.htm
• Central Diabetes Insipidus - caused when the pituitary gland does not secrete enough antidiuretic hormone (ADH) [also called vasopressin]. This type of DI may be the caused by a congenital defect, trauma, a tumor on the pituitary gland, or unknown causes.
• Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus - caused when the kidneys do not respond to the ADH that is produced by the pituitary gland. This type of DI may be caused by a congenital defect, drugs, or caused by other metabolic disorders.
....Our Britt was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus at a 1 1/2.
If this condition has existed with your dog since he was a wee puppy then genetics may possibly play a part in his disorder, rare as that reason may be. If however, this developed later then you are probably looking at some other environmental cause for the disorder. JMPO

And one other thing I wish to addess.....the Brittany study being conducted at UC Davis is not concluded. I think that conclusions drawn from an unfinished research project should not stand as perceived "faults" of the breed. In the end this may be the case, but at this point in time it is egregious to place blame where it may not belong. Again JMPO

We certainly have sympathy for the problem and perhaps there may be some personal experiences forthcoming that can help you deal with it....we like to be of help wherever and whenever we can, to the best of our combined abilities.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

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Re: diabetes insipidus

Post by Brenda Dom »

I'm so sorry your pup has DI. I once had a Brittany with Cushings. She also drank massive quantities of water and produced copious amounts of urine. Luckily for us, her condition could be controlled with a relatively low dose of inexpensive steroids. If you haven't already done so, I would check out some of the petmed sites (1800petmeds.com, vetcentric.com) and do a little comparison shopping on the drug you are using to treat your dog. You may find it significantly less expensive. If you do, ask your vet to write you a prescription. If you must purchase from a "human" pharmacy, I would still shop around. The medication Max was on all summer and fall for his respiratory problem was $9 a month at Costco and $52 a month at CVS. (Guess where I shopped?)

I don't know a thing about DI except what I've read here. While DI can be genetic, is it always genetic? Could there be other factors?
True Story wrote:Diabetes insipidus is rare, but through our research we have discovered DI is a much more frequent genetic problem in the Brittany then reported.
None of the breeders I know, or know of, would knowingly breed dogs with this kind of condition. Most reputable breeders guarantee the health of the puppies they breed. Have you notified your breeder about your pup's diagnosis? Is there a history of DI in your breeder's lines?

Do you have his pedigree? I'd be curious to see what his lines are.

I do wish you luck on your journey and good health to your pup (BTW, what is his name?). I hope you'll keep us posted on both your research and your pup's condition.

Brenda
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diabetes insipidus

Post by True Story »

For further information on diabetes insipidus you can research the following article "Diabetes Insipidus In Our Best Friends" by Susan Thorpe-Vargas and John Cargill. The beginning of the article talks about people turning their dogs over to shelters or even having them euthanized because of house-soiling issues. Since this is the Brittany Rescue site I thought I'd write about our experience to see if it coincides with anyone else having similar symptoms with their dog. There is a diabetes insipidus message board, and dog owners constantly talk about inappropriate urination, when housebreaking seemed satisfactory prior to disease onset---it was my hope this information could help someone that may be at wits end with their dog. And, yes Barb all the information you provided about how the disease may present genetic, trauma, tumor, unknown, congenital is true. And it is also true that a number of diseases need to be ruled out before an final diagnosis can be made. In our case our dog went through all the battery of tests you posted including being tested for Lepto, Lymes, stool cultures, numerous urine and blood tests and he also had an ultrasound of his kidneys. If you knew our entire story I think YOU would be a little more sympathtic. I should have included all the web links you provided so others could get an accurate picture of the disease. I do not think UC Davis would be conducting a study of a genetic link between Diabetes Insipidus in the Brittany if there was in fact not enough evidence to warrant a study. As you stated the study is still in progress and that is why I am encouraging other Brittany owners to send DNA samples along---this would indeed help speed up finding a gene marker, such as they are trying to find for Hip dysplasia. Our dog was diagnosed with Central diabetes insipidus(also known as Pituitary DI or Neurogenic DI---which means he is not producing enough ADH hormone on his own. The term for his actual diagnosis is sudden unset diabetes insipidus because he had never shown any prior symptoms before this episode(he had an insatiable thirst, and kept wanting to go outside to urinate, we thought he had a UTI, took his temp and he was started on Clavamox, he cried a few times through the night to go out to go potty---we took him immediately to the vet in the morning, during the day he started vomitting and had his first seizure.) He was not diagnosed as a wee pup, he was diagnosed at 1 1/2. He became ill, very quickly and almost died from severe neurological problems that set in over a matter of hours--he could not recognize us, see, eat or drink on his own, walk, let alone stand, and his bladder was being expressed. Since his kidneys could not concentrate urine, the excess fluid in the body has to go somewhere so it was putting pressure on the brain, thus causing his neurological conditions. We were beyond upset and at the time they could not tell us if his neurological symptoms would be reversible or not. In the end our vet bills exceeded 10 grand. Only after calling the sires owner and explaining how dire our dogs situation was, did they confess and say DI did run in their line, that some dogs were actually diagnosed, and some were being treated for symptoms. I don't think any vet will order desmopression for a dog that does not require it and no person is going to pay the price for the treatment meds if their dog does not actually have it. Anyhow this is how we know our dogs case is genetic. This is a popular line attached to highly respected breeders we trusted--so if it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone. And to quote my source, "Many affected DI dogs are from extremely good bloodlines, and performance records, which means the genes are being rapidly spread nationally throughout the breed." I'm not in the habit of inventing up quotes from unreliable Brittany sources, so if the last one and this one ruffles some feathers, so be it. We are quite fond of the breed and would never do or say anything to deliberately jeopardize it. None of the pups from our litter will ever be bred. We could never in good faith do that to anyone or make another dog suffer like ours did. We do hope UC Davis finds a gene marker to help prevent this disease in the future. The people associated with the sires line suggested we all learn from this experience, let our dog be their "Savior", I'm letting him do that job. And, no I will not release the pedigrees of the dogs--we were told in around about way to shut the hell up, it's the curse of being a dog breeder. So, let it be on their conscious. I will warn everyone be careful who you trust--friends or not, go back and research a pedigree as far as you can, be honest with each other, be honest with the dog owning public, protect the future of our breed.

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Post by HOPE »

Sorry to hear your Britt has DI. :(
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Post by Barb Wright »

True....you certainly have our sympthy :cry: Dealing with a difficult disease is something all of us pray we do not ever have to face, especially long term. Hopefully, with the right meds and your good care, your dog will be able to lead a good life....the best you can do is the best you can do.

Please keep us in the loop on your progress. It will be an education for all of us.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

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Post by DualCH Brits »

Welcome to the board True Story. I certainly do wish that your joining this happy lil Brittany community was under better circumstances!!

You have posted up some very useful information on DI...a disease that indeed can be very, very debilitating. In your case, it sounds like a definative diagnosis became very expensive, very quickly....which puzzles me because in my experience as a vet tech ( lots of years worth...15 to be exact) with the clinical symptoms of DI that I have been witness to, which admittedly has only been on a handful of occassions (a Samoyed, a JRT, a ShepX, and a TerrX), the DVMS came the the diagnosis fairly early on and I know that back then, the client's bill was far less then 10K. The cost of quality veterinary medicine has certainly been on the rise of course so I guess my perception of what things should or even can cost these days is probably outdated.

The DNA studies are an ongoing project, with DI being only 1 of the many markers that are being sought in our breed. The task of the DNA project is HUGE and can't even come close to being a finished project for a long, long time. Defining the DNA markers for such diseases such as Peri Retinol Atrophy, Hip Dysplasia, & Epilepsy, the 3 major health concerns facing the Brittany breed at the moment are enough to take years in and of themselves to find. But there are 100's of other genetic diseases out there and the project must begin somewhere, of course. :wink:
Only after calling the sires owner and explaining how dire our dogs situation was, did they confess and say DI did run in their line, that some dogs were actually diagnosed, and some were being treated for symptoms.
The Sire is only 50% of the equation.
And to quote my source, "Many affected DI dogs are from extremely good bloodlines, and performance records, which means the genes are being rapidly spread nationally throughout the breed." I'm not in the habit of inventing up quotes from unreliable Brittany sources, so if the last one and this one ruffles some feathers, so be it. We are quite fond of the breed and would never do or say anything to deliberately jeopardize it. None of the pups from our litter will ever be bred. We could never in good faith do that to anyone or make another dog suffer like ours did. We do hope UC Davis finds a gene marker to help prevent this disease in the future. The people associated with the sires line suggested we all learn from this experience, let our dog be their "Savior", I'm letting him do that job. And, no I will not release the pedigrees of the dogs--we were told in around about way to shut the hell up, it's the curse of being a dog breeder.
If I am reading this correctly, YOU are the breeder, and this is a pup that you kept from the litter???!!!!! As a fellow breeder, whoever told you.....round about way or NOT, to "shut the hell up" is way beyond out of line. As your fellow breeder, I will step forward and tell you that you OWE it not only to the dogs, but to the fancy, and other breeders like myself to do the right thing. You may not wish to disclose the pedigree information, however, do you not think that it may be a moral duty and a matter of ethics to do so?

You needn't do it in a public manner such as on a discussion forum like this. In fact I'm not even sure that this was a good place to bring your story, other then you have shed light on a very serious health issue. Most of the owners on here have rescues...and so they do not know the lineage behind their dogs so this information would be of value to them only form the health aspect, the rest however is of a moot point to them.

BUT...and I stress this strongly.....as one breeder to another....if you DO NOT not speak up and you do not share what you have learned in every detail then you are only playing with smoke and mirrors on this issue. There are other much more powerful platforms for you to use to get the information and your point across.

I feel very badly for you that you have gone through this experience. I am dreadfully glad that you are at least willing to seek a solution other then euthanasia for the dog that is affected. Kudos to you for your committment to the pup. But above all else I hope that you can come from behind your cloak and speak up for the breed by sharing what you have learned. Breeding is a great responsibility.....and it carries it's joys as well as it's burdens....and trust me when I say, burdens are meant to be shared.

Please feel free to PM me at anytime. I completely understand your frustration...as does Barb, who spent over two decades in Siberian Husky breed fancy. She quit breeding as a result of a situation JUST LIKE THIS.
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Post by swillow66 »

In all honestly, I find discussions regarding possible genetic and/or environmental links facinating! Possible because my daughter suffers from an auto-immune disease that while based in genetics, no one is ever born with the disease (meaning something in her immune system or environment triggered it) To further complicate the issue, the disease itself can be from genetic predisposal OR the side-effect from several other complicated diseases.

Hip Dysplasia is much the same. Just because one carries the genes for it, does not automatically mean the dog will have HD nor determine its severality. There are many, many other factors - diet, exercise, possibly even early spay/neutering, etc. that play factors as well. My own Britt has mild HD, so the UC Davis study is of great importance to me as well. If I am not mistaken, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, the Brittany study started out very small and limited and until recently expanded to include MANY diseases (ie - thyroid) and even behavioral issues (ie - aggression). We are indeed VERY fortunate to Dr. Theilen and his team working diligently on behalf of the Brittany breed!
Our dog was diagnosed with Central diabetes insipidus (also known as Pituitary DI or Neurogenic DI---which means he is not producing enough ADH hormone on his own.
I am slightly confused. From http://www.petdiabetes.org/diabetes_insipidus.htm, Central and Neurogenic are two different forms of DI. Is this in/correct?

I did read the article from Susan Thorpe-Vargas and John Cargill http://www.diabetesinsipidus.org/pets_d ... s.htm#_edn. Interesting information that I will study further. Off the top of my head, I do have a conflict with this sentence:
Not only is the disease dangerous in itself, but the primary symptoms include a behavior that could be perceived, or misinterpreted by owners, trainers, and veterinarians as purposefully destructive, and which figures prominently in the statistics of animals turned over to dog pounds and to veterinarians for euthanasia. I would appreciate other members comments, as I have found this http://www.petrescue.com/library/relinquish-pets.htm much more in-line with actual rescue experience (they place ALL health reasons as #9 out of the top 10 reasons for relinquishments.) JMHO - Britts are "gee, I didn't know they were THAT energetic!"

I would even go as far to suggest you search our site for soiling problems. Perhaps with your knowledge, you can find symptoms that were unaware of that match your experiences - Shelli
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Post by swillow66 »

After further thought, I had more questions (please take no offense, but your post was difficult to read - perhaps a few well-placed "paragraph returns" would make for a even more effective read :lol: )

From your referred website:
The disease can also go unnoticed if the dog has a constant supply of water and has access to an outdoor run or a doggy door so that his excessive elimination needs do not require human intervention. Nonetheless, the disease is dangerous, and severe dehydration can occur very rapidly (within four to six hours). Leaving a “DI dog” unattended without water for several hours or overnight may result in severe hyperosmolality, coma, and death . . .

In regards to rescue, many off us do recieve dogs that need further housetraining (including housebreaking AND housemanners) so I would say a good precentage of the dogs coming in foster care must be crated. I am assuming that a high percentage of us do work outside the home, so the crate stays would easily be over 6 hours. I do not recall any discussions that a dog was experiencing extreme dehydration or symptoms that mimic DI after such stays.
In the end our vet bills exceeded 10 grand. Only after calling the sires owner and explaining how dire our dogs situation was, did they confess and say DI did run in their line, that some dogs were actually diagnosed, and some were being treated for symptoms.
So, did your vet actually diagnose the dog before OR after your call to the breeder (did you make a similar call on the Dam side as well?)? I have three vets I use. My regular one I've gone to forever, the one for the fosters (who if wasn't for my alligience to my vet I would use) and an orthopedic specialist for Riley's hips. At any point in time, I have no qualms with disagreeing with them and telling them why. Do you think your fees and/or care was out-of-line? I would hate for a vet to take monetary advantage of someone that was under duress because their beloved dog was so ill. Perhaps a conversation or two with other vets to find out if the care/cost was unreasonable?

As far as breeders go, there are good one and there are bad ones. There are those that do it because of their love to enhance the breed. There are those that just want to make money (it is a well known secret that some in the show industy "cull" dogs that aren't of good quality).

Sadly, it will most likely be several of theses disease will found to have more than one genetic marker, making it even harder to say "yep, that dog carries it." It is a very complicated issue indeed.
Madison and Riley "Waiting for Spring!"

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Re: diabetes insipidus

Post by hillsbrittanys »

Back almost 13 years ago I purchased a Brittany male who at 20 mo. old developed Diabetes Insipidis. Breeder was not up front about the possible genetic link of the disease. The tough thing was I had bred into those same lines twice not knowing of the possibility of this genetic issue. My pup had a SG of 1.000 when diagnosed and never got above 1.008 on ADH replacement. His sister has done quite well and has had a pretty normal life. Now the question is posed as to where this genetic X-linked gene is in my current line. From the two breeding's that were done only one female was kept and one male both were produced from breeding to males from those lines. It has been thought the line originated from the dam of the effected puppy and to my knowledge the Dam was not effected. Is that possible? Isn't a recessive trait caused by one gene from each parent? If dominant then the Dam would have had to be effected, right. is it probable that it is an acquired form but would two from the same litter be effected both at the same age of around 20 months? Would like to find out more about this as it could effect the flexibility of my breeding program.

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Re: diabetes insipidus

Post by Barb Wright »

Some pretty complex questions there.....thinking other breeders or a canine geneticist would probably be a good source for getting correct answers. That said, having spent quite a few years breeding Siberians I have had a little experience with genetic propensities, and I really think you have to go farther back in the line then just the recent sire/dam. I do know that health issues are difficult to pin point without several generations being included in the research.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

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