Our Middlesex vets often see dogs with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Today, we'll list common causes, symptoms and treatment options for this condition in dogs, and what can be done for a dog with a UTI.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Dogs
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) — also referred to as bacterial cystitis — are a fairly common condition in dogs, with a large number being caused by bacterial infection. The condition is more frequently diagnosed in older dogs ages 7 and up.
You may wonder, "How does a dog get a urinary tract infection?". This condition is commonly caused by bad bacteria entering the body through the urethra. This bacteria typically comes from dirt or feces that gets caught in your dog's undercarriage.
E. Coli is the most common type of bacteria to cause urinary issues, but other types of bacteria such as Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, Porteus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas and Corynebacterium can also cause urinary tract infections in dogs.
That said, there are some other potential factors that can contribute to a UTI and cause discomfort. When it comes to dog urinary tract infection, less common causes and triggers can include:
- Viral infection
- Spinal cord disease
- Fungal infection
- Bladder inflammation
- Weak bladder
- Urinary stones
- Prostate disease
- Kidney disease
Signs That Your Dog May Have a UTI
Watching your dog suffer from urinary tract infection symptoms can be distressing. Of course, these same symptoms may cause them significant discomfort. If your pooch has a UTI, you may notice one or more of these signs:
- Frequent urination
- Licking excessively following urination
- Excessive thirst
- Blood in urine
- Loss of bladder control
- Dribbling urine
- Signs of pain while urinating
- Accidents in the house
Treating UTI in Dogs
It's important to see a vet for an examination and diagnosis if you suspect your dog has a UTI, so your dog's symptoms can be addressed and treated. Your veterinarian will determine the underlying cause of your pup's symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment to clear up the UTI.
- A UTI is can be a very painful condition for your pooch to deal with. To help relieve pain caused by UTIs your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatories for your pet, or in severe cases stronger pain killers may be administered by injection.
- If your dog's UTI is being caused by a bacterial infection, your vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics for your pet. If your vet prescribes antibiotics for your dog's UTI you can expect to see an improvement within a couple of days. However, it's important to continue antibiotic treatment until the full prescription has been used up. Ending treatment early can lead to a reinfection that may be harder to fight.
Treatment for Underlying Conditions
- Underlying conditions such as diabetes or Cushing's disease can lead to recurring urinary tract infections in dogs. If your dog has an underlying health condition, treatment may focus primarily on the underlying condition as a means of stopping the infections from happening. In some dog's, prostate disease can be controlled with chemical or surgical castration, and the growth of bladder tumours may be slowed with medications.
- For some dogs, a diet specially formulated to alter urine acidity, and prevent stone formation can help to reduce the inflammation that can lead to UTIs in dogs. Supplements may also help to encourage your dog to drink more in order to dilute the urine.
- Large urinary stones which persist in spite of dietary modifications may need to be surgically removed. Dogs typically handle this surgery well and see an improvement in 1-2 weeks. In some cases stones may be analyzed to determine the most appropriate ongoing treatment for your pup.
Urethral Sphincter Medication
- Your vet may prescribe medication to help 'tighten' your dog's urethra to help control the release of urine. This treatment is typically used in dogs experiencing incontinence with no detectible underlying cause.
Bladder Support Medications & Supplements
- Your dog may benefit from ongoing treatment with antioxidant, probiotic and prebiotic supplements which aim to support the guts 'good bacteria' and improve the overall condition of your pup's gut lining. If you'd like to give your dog supplements, be sure to speak to your veterinarian first in order to prevent problematic drug interactions from occurring.
100% Pure Cranberry Juice
- Cranberry juice is frequently used to fight urinary tract infections in people, and can sometimes be helpful in fighting UTIs in dogs. It is believed that pure cranberry juice can help to prevent the harmful bacteria from adhering to the wall of your dog's bladder, meaning that it can be flushed out of your pup's system faster. Consult your vet before giving your dog cranberry juice, or any other natural treatments.
The Bottom Line
If your dog is displaying symptoms of a urinary tract infection it is essential to seek veterinary care. UITs can be a symptom of a very serious underlying condition, and left untreated a UTI could go on to cause more serious conditions such as kidney disease.
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.