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Pollakiuria in Dogs (Frequent Small Urinations)

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Pollakiuria is the voiding or passing of small quantities of urine more frequently than normal. Although some individuals urinate more frequently than others, it is important to establish what is normal for your pet, and to contact your veterinarian if pollakiuria is evident. It is not uncommon for pets with pollakiuria to have "accidents" in the house. The variety of causes are divided into diseases of the bladder, prostate or gentials.

Diseases of the Urinary Bladder and Urethra

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Stones within the urinary tract (Urocystolithiasis )
  • Cancer
  • Trauma
  • Drugs such as cyclophosphamide
  • Iatrogenic, which means the result of a medical procedure done to the patient, such as catheterization
  • Certain neurologic disorders

    Diseases of the Prostate

  • Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis)
  • Cancer
  • Benign enlargement (hyperplasia)
  • Abscesses
  • Cysts

    Diseases of the External Genitalia

  • Inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis)
  • Inability to retract the penis into it's sheath (paraphimosis)
  • Cancer
  • Genital foreign bodies

    What to Watch For

  • Painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Polyuria and polydipsia (excessive urinating and drinking) may be seen with infections or kidney disease
  • The inability to urinate may be seen in individuals with blockages of the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra)
  • Systemic signs of illness to include fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea, may indicate severe illness and should prompt a veterinary evaluation as soon as possible.


  • A complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile should be performed on all patients. Although most often within normal limits, animals with concurrent infection of the kidney or prostatitis/prostatic abscesses may have significant changes in their white blood cell counts. Additionally, in cases of urinary obstruction, it is important to evaluate kidney and electrolyte status.

  • Urinalysis is of paramount importance in these patients. White blood cells in the urine and blood, and protein in the urine, indicate urinary tract inflammation. Crystals in the urine may or may not be helpful in supporting a diagnosis of bladder stones.

  • A bacterial urine culture is essential in these cases, as bacterial infections are common causes of pollakiuria in pets. Ideally, cystocentesis, which is obtaining urine directly from the bladder with a needle and syringe, is the preferred method of obtaining a sterile culture.

  • Abdominal X-rays are helpful in determining the presence of stones and tumors.

  • Abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive test to evaluate the urinary tract. It is extremely sensitive with regard to diagnosing stones, tumors and prostatic diseases.

  • Contrast cystourethrogram is a dye study that evaluates the entire urinary bladder and urethra. It may confirm the presence of a tumor or stone.


  • Pollakiuria associated with systemic signs of illness, including fever, depression and vomiting, or laboratory findings consistent with kidney failure or infection, may warrant hospitalization and supportive care while additional diagnostics are being performed. Intravenous fluid and electrolyte therapy may be of great benefit to these patients.

  • Specific treatment depends on the underlying cause.

  • Antibiotics are indicated for urinary tract infections.

  • Anti-inflammatory agents may be helpful in certain inflammatory disorders.

  • Surgical intervention may be indicated in certain cases where stones or tumors are present.

    Home Care

    Administer all prescribed medication and return for follow-up evaluations as directed by your veterinarian. Observe your pet very closely. If pollakiuria is not improving and/or is getting worse, contact your veterinarian at once.

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