Excessively Frequent Urination (Pollakiuria) in Dogs

Key Takeaways

Pollakiuria refers to abnormally frequent urination, usually in small volumes. 

• Characterized by frequent posturing to urinate (squatting) with small volumes of urine voided

Pollakiuria is a serious symptom and warrants prompt veterinary attention

A complete inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency

• Common causes of pollakiuria include bacterial bladder infection or partial obstruction by stones of the urinary tract

• Additional causes include toxin exposure, cancer, and injury

• Certain breeds may be predisposed to pollakiuria, and whether the animal is sexually altered (spay/neuter) is factor

• Pollakiuria may vary in severity, not necessarily in correlation with the seriousness of the underlying condition

• Diagnosis includes physical exam, urinalysis, bloodwork, and imaging

• Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and in some cases, surgery to remove stones or tumors

• Prognosis depends on the underlying cause

A Closer Look: What is Pollakiuria in Dogs?

Pollakiuria may vary in severity, not necessarily in correlation with the severity of the underlying condition. There is a range of frequency and volume voided. Pet parents should observe their dogs’ urination regularly to note changes.

Possible Causes

Potential causes of pollakiuria include:

• Urinary tract infection • Kidney, bladder or urethral stones (uroliths) • Bladder cancer • Testicular cancer

• Toxin exposure (e.g., chocolate, antifreeze, drugs, medications) • Injury to any part of the urinary system

• Prostate disease (prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostatitis)

• Congenital, structural abnormalities like ectopic ureter • Pyometra

Risk Factors

Pollakiuria is a serious symptom that warrants urgent veterinary attention. Pollakiuria is fairly common, often signaling infection of the urinary tract. Pollakiuria, even when accompanied by bloody urine, is rarely indicative of a life-threatening emergency. 

If a dog is unable to urinate at all, this is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention.

Testing and Diagnosis

Veterinarians presented with a dog exhibiting pollakiuria start with a full physical exam and history, including any toxin exposure or prescribed medications. Urinalysis is performed, along with blood work. Diagnosis may also include urine culture to characterize infection, and imaging of the abdomen and urinary tract (x-rays, ultrasound). Breed and whether or not a dog is spayed or neutered will also offer clues to suggest a diagnosis.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause, and may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, hospitalization with symptomatic treatment, or surgery.

Similar symptoms

Polyuria (increased volume of urine), incontinence (inability to hold urine), and not urinating at all (unproductive straining) may be mistaken for pollakiuria. Pollakiuria is characterized by frequent small volumes, voided intentionally. A complete inability to urinate is also usually accompanied by frequent attempts to urinate, and this may be mistaken for frequent productive urinations. This is an important distinction to make because frequent unproductive straining is associated with a urinary obstruction, which is an emergency. A physical examination and diagnostic imaging are often necessary to tell the difference.

Associated Symptoms

These associated symptoms are often seen alongside pollakiuria

• Dysuria (painful urination) • Stranguria (slow, painful urination)

Hematuria (blood in the urine) • Polyuria (excessive volume of urine)

Polydipsia (excessive drinking)

These associated symptoms may indicate severe underlying conditions and require immediate attention:

• Appetite loss • LethargyVomiting

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