Does your dog seem to be urinating more often or showing signs of pain while urinating? He could be showing signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI). There are many causes of UTIs in dogs, and some pooches are prone to recurring infections. Learning how to recognize the signs of a budding UTI can help you seek treatment earlier so your dog doesn’t suffer longer.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is an overgrowth of bacteria in the urinary tract, which is normally a sterile environment. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, which filter waste from the blood; ureters, which carry the urine to the bladder; the bladder, which is a muscular holding tank; and the urethra, which transports the urine out of the dog’s body. Infections can happen anywhere along this path, but the most common location of a UTI is within the bladder. Problems further up in the system tend to be more serious.
What to Look For
Dogs with a lower urinary tract infection can behave normally other than changing their urination habits. Some dogs can show no change at all, while others can show dramatic urgency or frequency in needing to go out while only peeing a small amount of urine. Some even have blood in their urine. However, these signs could be due to other medical problems such as bladder stones, so it’s important to make a trip to the vet as soon as you notice differences in your dog’s urination pattern.
You will want to bring in a sample of your dog’s urine for testing. Catching your dog’s urine mid-stream can be a bit tricky, but you will want to slip a clean cup or dish under him while he is urinating. Your vet can then conduct a series of tests on the urine sample. It will be checked for color, cloudiness, concentration and biochemical nature (pH balance, protein levels, presence of blood cells and glucose). A normal urine sample should be sterile and light yellow in color. If bacteria is present, your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics, or do further testing to identify the exact type of bacteria present.
Females are more prone to developing UTIs than males because the shortness of their urethra makes it easier for bacteria, often fecal material, to travel up their urethra. Male dogs, especially those un-neutered, can get inflammation of the prostate glad leading to an infection of the urinary tract. Other causes could be diseases like diabetes, kidney disease or neurological disorders. Also, certain medications such as prednisone can make a dog prone to urinary tract infections.
Dogs that have infrequent urinary tract infections may be treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. But, like humans, there is an increase in bacterial resistance to some antibiotics. More veterinarians are collecting a sterile urine sample and growing a culture so they determine the exact bacteria and prescribe a more focused antibiotic. Your vet may also recommend testing another urine sample at the end of taking the full course of antibiotic to confirm the problem is resolved.
Dogs with recurring urinary tract infections may go through additional testing to try to identify the underlying cause or add supplements to help prevent UTIs. Some examples would be:
- Cranberry and D-Mannose to inhibit certain bacteria from binding to the bladder wall
- Probiotics to help populate the gut and vagina with normal microbial flora
- Immune system supplements and a high-quality diet to strengthen the dog’s overall well-being
Other things you can do would be to add water to your dog’s food and taking them for more frequent potty breaks to flush out the bladder.
Urinary tract infections are generally not very serious in nature, but they should never be ignored. Quick recognition of the signs will jump start a speedy recovery for your dog.
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, makers of a line of award-winning freeze-dried bland diets for dogs and a line of nutritional supplements for dogs and cats. We offer Probiotics for both dogs and cats, Urinary Support for cats and Hemp Immunity for dogs.
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