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Companion Animal Practice
Investigation of polyuria and polydipsia in the dog
  1. Ian Ramsey

    Ian Ramsey graduated from Liverpool University in 1990. He is currently the Waltham Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at Glasgow University. He holds a PhD and the RCVS diploma in small animal medicine, and is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is an RCVS Specialist in Internal Medicine.

  2. Yvonne McGrotty

    Yvonne McGrotty graduated from Glasgow in 1997 and spent two years in small animal practice in Glasgow. She returned to the veterinary school in 1999 as a resident in small animal medicine and was awarded the certificate in small animal medicine in 2000. She is currently working as a resident in emergency medicine and critical care at the Royal Veterinary College.


POLYURIA and polydipsia are two common presenting signs in dogs seen in practice. There are a number of causes and these can be divided into two groups: primary polyuria/secondary polydipsia and primary polydipsia/secondary polyuria. Some causes may produce clinical signs by more than one mechanism. Compensatory mechanisms that regulate water homeostasis mean that polyuria and polydipsia always occur together. Careful history taking and hospital monitoring are required to demonstrate polyuria or polydipsia. This article describes the approach to the investigation of canine polyuria and polydipsia, and discusses some of the procedures which may aid diagnosis.

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