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Chemical Imbalance of Urine in Dogs

Hyposthenuria in Dogs

In dogs, the normal concentration and regulation of urine rely on a complex interplay involving antidiuretic hormone (ADH), the protein receptor for ADH on the renal tubule, and the tension of tissue within the kidney. Hyposthenuria represents a clinical state characterized by chemically imbalanced urine. This imbalance may stem from various causes such as trauma, abnormal hormone release, or excessive tension within the kidney.

Abnormalities can arise from disruptions in the synthesis, release, or actions of ADH, injury to the renal tubule, and changes in the tonicity of the tissue within the kidney’s medullary interstitium. Notably, there is no specific breed predisposition to this condition among dogs.


The symptoms experienced will vary based on the root cause of the disorder. Common symptoms may include:

  • Polyuria (excessive urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Occasional urinary incontinence


Causes may stem from disorders or medications that disrupt the release or function of ADH, inflict damage upon the renal tubule, result in medullary washout, or induce a primary thirst disorder.


The diagnosis process involves a comprehensive physical examination by your veterinarian, considering the dog’s medical history and potential contributing factors to the condition. A range of tests will be conducted, including:

  • Complete blood profile: This includes a chemical blood profile and a complete blood count.
  • Urinalysis: Emphasis is placed on determining urine specific gravity, which reflects the kidney’s ability to eliminate waste while retaining essential nutrients and water.
  • Blood serum analysis: Assessing alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels can indicate hypoadrenocorticism or primary liver disease, while elevated cholesterol is common in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism.
  • Detection of leukocytosis and proteinuria: These indicate conditions like pyometra, pyelonephritis, or hyperadrenocorticism. Presence of bacteria or inflammatory sediment in the urine suggests pyelonephritis.
  • Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) level checks: These help determine the cause of hyperadrenocorticism, distinguishing between pituitary-dependent and adrenal tumor-related cases.
  • Imaging techniques: X-rays may reveal damage to the kidneys or urinary tract. Intravenous pyelogram offers a detailed visual examination. Ultrasonography assesses organ size and architecture, particularly of the adrenal glands, kidneys, liver, and uterus. MRI or CT scans can identify pituitary or hypothalamic masses associated with central diabetes insipidus or hyperadrenocorticism.

These diagnostic methods help identify underlying conditions and guide appropriate treatment strategies for the dog.


Treatment of hyposthenuria will vary based on the underlying condition. It’s important not to restrict your dog’s water intake unless advised by your veterinarian and it aligns with the specific diagnosis. Whether your dog experiences excessive urination or struggles to control their bladder, treatment should be tailored to address the root cause determined by your veterinarian.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will arrange regular follow-up appointments to assess your dog’s urine specific gravity, hydration levels, kidney function, and electrolyte balance. Since dehydration is a potential complication of hyposthenuria and can escalate into a life-threatening situation, it’s crucial to ensure your dog remains adequately hydrated at all times.

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