Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?

The Urinary Tract Infection in the dog may also be known as acute cystitis. A urinary tract infection is caused by of an accumulation of a large number of pathogens living and reproducing within the urinary tract of the dog. Fungi and viruses may sometimes be the cause of a urinary tract infection but it is bacteria which are the more usual culprits. The parts of the dog’s body that are generally affected include the bladder, the kidney, the ureters, and the urethra. The bacteria which may be responsible for the urinary tract infection in the affected dog may be confirmed to be the pathogens E. coli, Staphylococcus, Chlamydia, Streptococcus but also many more.In most cases, the immune system should be able to defend itself against the entrance of bacteria. Despite this, for every twenty dogs, it has been suggested that three are likely to have a urinary tract infection sometime in their life.

All ages and breeds of dogs may be affected by a urinary tract infection, although it has been suggested that some breeds are especially more susceptible than others. In females, where this condition is more commonly seen, the bacteria can be observed in the vaginal area of the bitch. The urethra of the bitch is shorter than that of the male dog and it for this reason that they are more commonly infected. It is the prostate are of male dogs where the bacteria may also be held. Once the infection has commenced here, the bacteria then migrate through the urethra into the urinary tract. Initially, there is no immediate damage caused by the infection although, if left untreated, it can have severe and even fatal consequences for the affected animal. 

How Do I Know If My Dog Has A Urinary Tract Infection?

Signs and Symptoms of UTI in Dogs

Initially the affected dog may not present any signs at all. Following this, owners may observe that their pet becomes tired more quickly than is usual, and may even become lethargic. A typical sign is the presence of blood in the dog’s urine and many owners are alarmed when they see it. The dog can have a high temperature and experience pain in the lower abdomen.

When the dog urinates, it may strain but not pass any and when it does do so in places it shouldn’t, which are often called accidents. Generally, there will be an increased frequency for the need to urinate. The urine can also give off an unpleasant odour and urinating may prove to be very painful. Due to the discomfort during urination, the dog may even whimper or yelp. Pus may be seen in the urine and the dog could become thirstier than is normal. In the more severe cases, the animal may shows signs of a loss in appetite or even act depressed.

Diagnosis of Acute Cystitis in Dogs

In the veterinary surgery, owners will have been asked to take a sample of the urine of the dog suspected to have a urinary tract infection before the consultation takes place. This is because they can then test the urine to form a culture to attempt to detect the presence of any bacteria within it. This is called a urinalysis. Additionally, if any blood is found then this may also prove to be a positive diagnosis for a urinary tract infection.

Some owners are not able to acquire the urine from their dogs and so vets perform a cystocentesis which involves placing a needle through the abdominal wall and bladder. A syringe is then used to obtain the urine sample. In more severe cases, or in dogs where re-infection of the urinary tract persistently occurs, other methods of diagnosis may be necessary. In dogs with these complications, radiographs and x-rays may be required.

What Do I Do If My Dog Has A Urinary Tract Infection?

If owners suspect their pet to have a urinary tract infection then they should immediately take the animal to the vet. This is to ensure that the condition does not worsen and thus prevents any further damage to occur. Unfortunately, long untreated urine tract infections in dogs may actually sometimes prove to fatal, especially if the kidneys have been adversely affected.

Once the dog has tested positive then a course of antibiotics will be given for the dog. This usually lasts over a period of ten days time. It is essential that all the recommended dosage is given so as to reduce the chance of bacterial resistance and re-infection.  Please note that antibiotics should be given by a vet as other products from the internet or otherwise are likely to prove to be ineffective and thus prolong and increase the severity of the problem for the infected dog. Additionally, you should encourage your dog to drink clean, fresh water. The dog should be exercised regularly to promote urination and high levels of hygiene should always be maintained. 

How Do I Prevent My Dog From Having A Urinary Tract Infection?

Reducing the risk of a urinary infection in dogs is relatively easy and all the preventative measures should be put into place to allow the dog to live a long and comfortable life. High levels of hygiene should be maintained at all times and the dog regularly washed. Care must be taken when washing so as not remove the essential oils on the dog’s coat. It is for this reason that specially formulated dog shampoo should be used as opposed to human shampoo.

Dogs should always have access to fresh clean water and discouraged from drinking dirty, stagnant water. The dog should be taken out to urinate as much as it needs so as to prevent a build up of bacteria. Dogs should be regularly exercised, thus providing adequate stimulation for the bladder. It must be remembered that prevention is better than cure, both in the costs of keeping the dog and also for the health and happiness of the dog itself.


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