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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs

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Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections In Male Dogs

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs Signs and Symptoms: UTI in dogs prevention

Sometimes urinary tract infections in male dogs produce no obvious symptoms until they have become quite severe. This is one reason that it is a good idea to include a urinalysis in the routine lab work for your dog every year or twice yearly depending on your dogs age and overall health.

The most common signs of a urinary tract infection are difficulty urinating or straining to urinate, frequent urges to urinate with a small quantity of urine produced, urine with a strange color or odor, blood in the urine and accidents in the house.

These symptoms can indicate something other than a bacterial cystitis so it is important for your veterinarian to do a full workup to determine other underlying causes.

Monitoring Response To Therapy

Patients with sporadic cystitis may not require rigorous monitoring. However, patients with prostatitis, pyelonephritis, or recurrent infections should be monitored very closely. Recurrent cystitis does not necessarily require a prolonged course of antibiotic therapy. The following protocol is recommended for monitoring response to therapy in patients with recurrent UTI.9

  • Reculture urine after 5 to 7 days of antibiotic therapy. Doing so confirms that the prescribed dose and frequency of the drug were successful in treating the isolated organism. This culture also may reveal an additional isolate that was not identified on the initial culture. Observation of any bacterial growth at this time suggests treatment failure reconsider the choice of antibiotic and dosage and administration frequency.
  • Reculture urine 3 days before discontinuing antibiotic therapy. This step is optional, but it confirms that when therapy was discontinued the culture was still negative. Positive bacterial growth at this stage suggests a refractory infection or newly inoculated organism. Patients with a positive culture should be investigated for any nidus of infection , and treatment should be altered and new therapy instituted for the same duration as previously intended.
  • Reculture urine 7 to 14 days after discontinuing antibiotic therapy. Positive growth should prompt investigation for causes of relapse or reinfection.

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems

Pay attention to your dogâs behavior, because itâs not easy to spot all your dogâs symptoms.

If you notice symptoms of pain and discomfort, especially difficulty urinating, call your dogâs vet to figure out whatâs causing the problems and the best way to treat them.

Show Sources

American Kennel Club: âDoes Your Dog Have UTI Symptoms or Something Worse?,â Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs.â

Banfield Pet Hospital: âLower Urinary Tract Disease .â

Canine Health Foundation: âCanine Lymphoma.â

Merck Manual Veterinary Manual: âBacterial Urinary Tract Infections.â

MSPCA-Angell: “Lower Urinary Tract Diseases of the Senior Dog.”

Peoria Area Veterinary Group: âUrinary Tract Problems in Dogs.â

Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira: âAnalysis of lower urinary tract disease of dogs.â

VCA Hospitals: âUrinary Tract Infections in Dogs.â

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Symptoms Of Bladder Infection In Dogs

The most common signs of bladder infections in dogs include pain or difficulties urinating, blood in urine or in some cases you may notice that your pup is only urinating very small amounts but frequently. Other indications of bladder infections or urinary tract infections include:

  • Straining to urinate
  • Increased thirst

If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms above it’s time to head to your veterinarian. Bladder infections and urinary tract infections are very uncomfortable and often painful for dogs. That said, when caught and treated early these infections can often be cleared up quickly and easily so the sooner you can get your pooch to the vet the better.

Signs & Symptoms Of Uti In Dogs

Possible causes of urinary incontinence in dogs.

Unlike humans who develop a UTI, dogs are often asymptomatic. But when signs of a urinary tract infection do present themselves, they may include the following:

  • Excessive drinking

  • Passing small amounts of urine very frequently

  • Acting uncomfortable or distressed while urinating

Dogs with diabetes or an endocrine/hormonal disorder dogs receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs and dogs that are on long-term cortisone-type medications are at a higher risk for developing UTIs. In these cases, your veterinarian may recommend regular urine tests to check for signs of infection.

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Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs

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JD Foster


Dr. Foster is an internist and Director of the Extracorporeal Therapies Service at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. He has lectured around the world on various renal and urinary diseases and authored numerous manuscripts and book chapters on these topics. He is the current president of the American Society of Veterinary Nephrology and Urology.

Urinary tract infections are common in small animals, developing in up to 27% of dogs.1 Nearly all infections are caused by pathogenic bacteria, although some are caused by fungi or viruses, albeit rarely. Most bacterial lower UTIs result from bacteria ascending the external genitalia and urethra. Less commonly, bacteria travel through the bloodstream and colonize the urinary tract.

Numerous innate defense mechanisms help prevent UTIs. Complete and regular voiding, along with the intrinsic properties of urine , help create a urinary tract environment that is hostile for microbes. Anatomic barriers and mucosal defenses further prevent adherence of virulent bacteria to the urothelium.

Elimination of the virulent organism can enable restoration of the normal permeability and integrity of the urothelium. Successful antimicrobial therapy requires an appropriate choice of antibiotic, including dose, frequency, and duration.

How To Treat Bladder Infections In Dogs

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for bladder infections in dogs, although in some cases your vet may recommend anti-inflammatory medications or pain killers depending on the severity and underlying cause.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

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How Western Medicine And Holistic Medicine Come Together

A UTI thats present must always first be treated with antibiotics. There arent many veterinarians who are willing to accept the enormous risk that comes with not treating the urinary tract infection immediately with conventional medicine.

Thats because a UTI can turn into a life-threatening kidney infection relatively quickly so they want to pump in those bacteria-fighting agents to get it out of there as fast as possible. Plus, theres not much risk in short-term antibiotic use .

Treatment For Canine And Feline Urinary Tract Infections

Symptoms for UTIs in Cats and Dogs

Most urinary tract infections are treated using antibiotics over the course of 10 to 14 days. Pets with recurring UTIs may have to take antibiotics for up to three or four weeks longer. This is where identifying the right bacteria becomes important.

Some bacteria can actually grow resistant to antibiotics, which is why many vets wont prescribe antibiotics until they know the exact cause of the infection. While your pet should show signs of recovery relatively soon, its important to give the full course of an antibiotic regimen to ensure the bacteria are completely neutralized.

In cats, most cases of urinary tract problems dont involve bacteria, which makes antibiotics unnecessary. Instead, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications as well as agents that can soothe the bladder. You may also consider administering an active hemp supplement, like Canna-Pet, if you are looking for a natural alternative.

If the vet found stones or crystals in your pets urinary tract, your pet will likely require long-term diet changes that can keep the urine at a consistent pH level to reduce chances of stones forming again. Larger stones will require surgery.

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Dosage Regimens For Uti:

Currently, the duration of therapy for UTI is controversial. Although animals are routinely treated with antimicrobial drugs for 10â14 days, shorter duration antimicrobial regimens are routinely prescribed in human patients, including single-dose fluoroquinolone therapy. A clinical comparison of 3 days of therapy with a once-daily high dose of enrofloxacin with 2 wk of twice daily amoxicillin-clavulanic acid showed equivalence in the treatment of simple UTI in dogs. However, further studies are needed to determine the optimal dosage regimens for different classes of antimicrobials, and it is inappropriate to use fluoroquinolones as first-line therapy for simple UTIs. Animals with complicated UTI may require longer courses of therapy, and underlying pathology must be addressed. Chronic complicated cases of UTI, pyelonephritis, and prostatitis may require antimicrobial treatment for 4â6 wk, with the risk of selecting for antimicrobial resistance. A follow-up urine culture should be performed after 4â7 days of therapy to determine efficacy. If the same or a different pathogen is seen, then an alternative therapy should be chosen and the culture repeated again after 4â7 days. Urine should also be cultured 7â10 days after completing antimicrobial therapy to determine whether the UTI has resolved or recurred.

Recovery Of Urinary Tract Infection In Dogs

Repeated urine cultures are sometimes necessary to verify if the antimicrobial agents have done the trick. In the case of a complicated UTI, the usual culture after one week of treatment will be repeated, prior to the end of the medication period, and then again a week to 10 days after the treatment has stopped. This may seem excessive but is absolutely essential in order to conclude if the chosen protocol will cure your pet of the pain and infection.

Though most UTIs clear up without complication once the treatment has begun, there can be instances where the antimicrobials do not seem to be effective.

  • Noncompliance by the pet owner. Never stop the treatment before the veterinarian gives the go-ahead.
  • The treatment may need to be repeated because the initial course was not long enough.
  • There could be an antimicrobial resistance, in which case a different one will need to be prescribed.
  • There could be an underlying cause that was not previously discovered or recognized.

Chronic urinary tract infection might require low dose continuous therapy. Low dose therapy might be discontinued once the veterinarian verifies, through urine culture, 6 months of bacteria free urine.

Studies are in process to determine if giving your dog cranberry juice, or extract can be beneficial for non-adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract .

As always, contact the veterinary team at any time if you have questions or concerns about the treatment prescribed for your furry family member.

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Treatment Of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs

The treatment of UTIs in dogs has two goals: addressing the underlying cause as the exact approach depends on the primary issue, and addressing the infection which involves long-term antibiotics .

To evaluate the improvement and antibiotic treatments efficacy, dogs with UTIs need regular urine re-culturing. This is the standard urine re-culture protocol:

  • Between 5 and 7 days of the antibiotic therapy initiation
  • 3 days before discontinuing the antibiotic therapy
  • Between 7 and 14 days after the discontinuation of antibiotics.

Recurrent urinary tract infections are a predisposing factor for bladder stones and dangerous kidney infections. Therefore, dogs with UTIs histories need to have urine culture evaluations every three months regardless of whether they are showing any UTI symptoms.

Diagnosing A Uti In Dogs

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs: What You Should Know

A urine sample needs to be collected and tested. If the dog shows symptoms indicative of an infection, a urinalysis and a urine culture can be performed simultaneously.

  • Urinalysis : Common UA findings for a dog with a urinary tract infection may include:

  • An excess of white blood cells

  • Presence of bacteria when the sediment is checked under the microscope

  • Excess protein in the urine

  • When a dog drinks an excessive amount of water, the urine may become too diluted to allow detection of bacteria or white blood cells. Many dogs with a UTI have no abnormalities on their UA, so a urine culture must be carried out to determine if theres an infection.

  • Urine culture: This is the only test that actually confirms a urinary tract infection is present. Urine is spun in a centrifuge to separate out the solids from the liquid. The solid part, known as the sediment, is placed in a container and incubated for bacterial growth. The confirmation of bacteria allows for further examination, including whether the bacteria are known to cause disease or likely to be harmless. The antibiotic profile helps doctors determine which antibiotics will work against the infection. Urine culture results are typically available within 3 to 5 days.

  • Urinary tract infections can be classified as uncomplicated or complicated:

    Recurrent UTIs that develop three or more times during a 12-month period may be considered a reinfection or relapse.

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    Uti Symptoms Return Repeatedly Can It Be Something Else

    Repeated presentation of typical UTI symptoms could the be the sign of a more serious condition canine bladder cancer . Often, a positive diagnosis of TCC/UC will be found after rounds of antibiotics to treat symptoms do not fully resolve. The dog may then be evaluated for the presence of a tumor, usually via urine cytology, abdominal ultrasound, and/or cystoscopy. These procedures are expensive, invasive and take additional time, which allows for the mass to continue to grow and spread within the bladder and potentially beyond.

    Diagnosis is now easier with the free-catch urine analysis test: CADET BRAF Mutation Detection Assay. The CADET BRAF Mutation Detection Assay is a non-invasive, free-catch urine analysis test that can detect canine bladder cancer months before symptoms present, allowing for the earliest therapeutic intervention.

    Note: The information in this article is meant to inform you about urinary tract infections in dogs and is not meant to take the place of a veterinary diagnosis. If you have questions about your dogs health or possible symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

    Common Symptoms Of Uti In Dogs & Cats

    The signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections are varied. Some dogs with lower urinary tract infections may not even exhibit signs, though most do. The most common signs of dog UTI include:

    • Difficulty urinating or straining to urinate
    • Hematuria, or bloody urine
    • Urine that is cloudy, discolored, or exceptionally smelly
    • A frequent need to urinate but in very small amounts
    • Breaking housetraining
    • Frequently licking the genital area
    • Crying out or whining while urinating

    Symptoms of cat UTI include:

    • Frequent trips to the litter box with very small amounts of urine
    • Urinating outside the litter box
    • Blood in cats urine
    • Straining in the litter box
    • Thick, firm, contracted bladder wall, which your

    With some cases of urinary tract infection, your cats urethra may be blocked by crystals, stones, or other masses, leading to pain when urinating. Many pet owners mistake this for constipation when the cat is actually dealing with a painful, potentially life threatening issue. In extreme cases when the urinary tract has been completely blocked off, your cat may become depressed and unresponsive or even potentially die.

    Detecting urinary tract infections can be difficult. The best thing you can do is to stay observant and take note of any abnormal urinating habits.

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    What Causes Utis In Dogs

    The area around a dogs genitalia is exposed to bacteria from urine, feces, and other types of debris. When bacteria travel up through the urethra and into the bladder, an infection develops. E. coli is a very common cause of UTIs, although there are several other types of bacteria that can also cause infection.

    When a dog is very young, elderly, or has a weakened immune system as a result of an illness, the body has a harder time fighting off infection.

    If the infection makes its way up into the kidneys, more serious issues like kidney infection , kidney stones, or even kidney failure can occur.

    Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection In Dogs

    Do Cranberries Work For Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs?

    Some dogs may be asymptomatic with a urinary tract infection. Signs that a dog is suffering from a bacterial invasion can vary, depending upon the extent of the infection and whether underlying diseases are complicating the illness. If you feel that your dog is having difficulty urinating, or is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, take him to the veterinary clinic without delay.

    • Licking of the urinary opening
    • Apparent difficulty urinating
    • Urinating in small amounts, frequently
    • Slow, painful voiding
    • Voiding large amounts of urine because of increased thirst

    Urinary tract infection is usually classified in two ways.

    • Uncomplicated UTI
      • There is no underlying structural, functional or neurological abnormality found
      • The UTI will usually improve within 48 hours of commencement of treatment
      • The treatment course is 5 to 14 days
    • Complicated UTI
      • There is a predisposing cause for the UTI
      • Treatment could involve a therapy course of 4 to 6 weeks

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    What Can I Do To Prevent A Uti From Occurring In The Future

    Your veterinarian will let you know if there is anything that can be done to prevent your dogs UTI from recurring. Often, a diet change may be recommended. They may also recommend some medications or supplements that can help to change the pH of the urine, making it harder for an infection to take hold. It is best to discuss UTI prevention with your veterinarian in order to put into place strategies that have been shown to be effective.

    Contributors: Malcolm Weir, DVM, MSc, MPH Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP

    What Is Urinary Tract Infection

    The urethra and bladder are normally sterile environments. However, infectious agents can invade the urinary tract and easily colonize, especially if the normal urinary tract defenses are compromised. Defenses against bacteria can be diminished because of factors such as aging or disease . E Coli is the most common bacterium to cause a urinary tract infection .

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