Canine Urinary Tract Infections: A complete guide to the condition

A Guide to Canine Urinary Tract Infections…

Urinary tract infections are actually quite common in dogs and it is estimated to occur in as much as 2% of the dog population.

– The cause of this infection is due to bacteria passing through the urethra into your dog’s body (the urethra is the small tube that urine is passed through).

– Once the bacteria has passed into your dog an infection occurs in the urinary tract before causing in your dogs bladder.

– The infection causes the urethra to become inflamed making the width of the tube much thinner – this makes it much more difficult for the urine to pass through the urethra.

– Due to the fact that the urine can’t pass through the urethra so easily, bladder stones can begin to develop.

– Due to the fact that the urine actually contains very small crystals these start to attach themselves to each other which forms the stones. These stones will cause more blockages and problems with your dog being able to urinate.

– By your dog peeing the urine is actually cleaning the urinary tract, consequently if your dog isn’t peeing as much your dog will then develop a urinary tract infection as the urine is less likely to kill any bacteria.

There are a variety of symptoms of a urinary tract infection including…

  • Leaking urine is a common sign of a urinary tract infection.
  • The urine may have a strong smell.
  • Your dog may find it difficult or painful to pee.
  • Your dog may pee more often and even pee in places that he wouldn’t normally pee.
  • There may even be blood in the urine (known as Hematuria).
  • Your dog may develop a fever.
  • Tiredness is another symptom of a urinary tract infection.
  • The Bladder may be tender when touched.

How are Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs Treated…

  • Antibiotics will need to be prescribed for 10-14 days.
  • Fresh water is very important – if your dog is drinking more water this will make him pee more which will help keep the urinary tract clean.

Home Remedies for Treating Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs…

  • Cranberry juice will help improve the acidity of the urine PH levels (which helps reduce the levels of bacteria). This is also a common treatment and prevention plan for urinary tract infections in humans. You don’t have to use Cranberry Juice as you can use any citrus juice (as long as it is acidic), the problem you will face is encouraging your dog to drink the juice!
  • The longer the urine stays in the bladder the higher the chance your dog will experience a urinary tract infection. Let your dog out every few hours as this will encourage your dog to urinate.

References:

Ackerman, L. 1995. Owners Guide to Dog Health.

Bleby,J and Bishop, G. 2003. The Dog’s Health from A-Z.

Eldredge, D. Carlson, L. Carlson, D and Giffen, J. 2007. The Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook. 4th Ed.

Mash, H. 2011. The Holistic Dog: A complete guide to natural health care. The Crowood Press.

The American Animal Hospital Association Encyclopedia of Dog Health and Care, 1994. Quill. New York.

The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats. 1996. Rodale Press Inc, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.


What are the common symptoms of Urinary Tract disease…?

Disuria: (Pain when urinating). This is particularly painful condition is a sign of urinary tract disease. The affected dog will often cry out in pain or lick the penis or vulva (simply not understanding what is causing the pain). Disuria will normally cause the dog to pass blood and/or mucus and is a common symptom of bladder, prostate and urethra problems.

Polyuria (increased urination): Polyuria is a common sign of Kidney diease with the affected dog also drinking large amounts of water (to help compensate for the increased urination). There are a number of causes of Polyuria including Cushings Disease, Thyroid Problems and Diabetes.

Hematuria (passing of blood in the urine). Hematuria can be chacaterized by blood in the initial urine stream (and then clearing) or appearing throughout urination. If blood appears in the urine (and then clears) this can display a problem with the urethra, vagina, penis or uterus. If blood appears throughout urination then this can be a symptom of bladder and kidney disease.

How are Urinary Tract Problems Diagnosed…?

  • Diagnosis can be problematic as there maybe more than one organ involved.
  • The most common method to help diagnosis is through urinalysis (as this will confirm whether there is a urinary tract infection present).
  • Blood chemistries may also be taken to diagnose whether there are problems with the kidney filtering system.