Desmopressin For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

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Desmopressin for dogs, also known by the brand names DDAVP and Stimate, is a drug primarily used to treat central diabetes insipidus. It is a synthetic replacement for vasopressin, also known as antidiuretic hormone or ADH, which is a hormone produced by a dog’s pituitary gland that helps regulate urine production by the kidneys, as well as the amount of water that the body retains. Desmopressin is one of the most common drugs prescribed to treat diabetes insipidus. Though it is not approved by the FDA for veterinary use, it can be safely and legally prescribed by veterinarians, and it is only available through a prescription. If your veterinarian prescribes desmopressin for your dog, follow their instructions for administering the drug closely. Here is what you should know about the uses, dosage, and side effects of desmopressin for dogs.

Uses Of Desmopressin For Dogs

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Desmopressin for dogs is primarily used to treat central diabetes insipidus, a condition where dogs’ pituitary glands don’t release enough vasopressin, the antidiuretic hormone. The body is unable to retain appropriate amounts of water, which can result in excessive thirst, drinking, and urination, as well as weight loss and dehydration in dogs. Desmopressin is a synthetic form of vasopressin that replaces the hormone to help regulate the kidneys and control the amount of water the body retains.

A secondary effect of desmopressin is that it can cause a short-term increase in blood clotting. For this reason, it is sometimes prescribed to treat a condition called von Willebrand’s disease, which is a genetic disorder that prevents the blood from clotting.

Dosage Of Desmopressin For Dogs

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The usual dosage of desmopressin for dogs with central diabetes insipidus is 1 to 2 drops administered to the eyes or nostrils twice a day. The drug is available in tablet form, though it is less common for desmopressin to be given to dogs orally, so it is most often prescribed in the form of a 10 microgram solution that can be administered nasally or through the eyes.

Desmopressin is also available in an injectable form, which is given at doses of 1 to 2 micrograms per dog for central diabetes insipidus or 0.5 micrograms per pound of body weight for dogs with von Willebrand’s disease. The treatment for von Willebrand’s disease lasts for about 4 hours.

If your veterinarian prescribes desmopressin for your dog, it is important that you continue administering the drug for the full duration of the prescription. Do not stop giving your dog the medication, even if symptoms appear to be relieved, unless your veterinarian instructs you to stop.

Side Effects Of Desmopressin For Dogs

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Side effects of desmopressin for dogs are uncommon, and the drug is usually safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian. There are, however, some uncommon side effects that may appear. If these side effects become concerning, you should consult your veterinarian, as they may wish to alter the dosage or seek an alternative form of treatment. Here are some of the side effects that may be experienced by dogs that take desmopressin.

  • Eye irritation
  • Fluid retention

Make sure your veterinarian is aware of any other medical conditions your dog has, as well as any medication they may be taking, especially epinephrine, heparin, and fludtrocortisone, as these may interact poorly with desmopressin. As with almost all medications, there is a risk of allergic reaction that can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. If you see the signs of an allergic reaction, including swelling, difficulty breathing, hives, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Has your dog ever taken desmopressin? Did it help their condition? Let us know in the comments below!