Treating a UTI in Dogs

UTIs, or Urinary Tract Infections, can be very painful for dogs, and potentially dangerous, but is treatable.

Symptoms of UTI include difficulty and (or) bleeding while urinating and constant licking of the privates. Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop a UTI, but it can affect the general population as well.

What causes urinary tract infection in dogs?

The most common reason for UTI is a bacterial infection — when E. Coli bacteria enters upwards through the urethral opening, it causes this illness. The infection can also develop when feces enter the urethral opening, or the dog’s immune system is weak. However, there may other underlying causes such as:

  • Stones, crystals and debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence from excessive consumption of water or weak bladder/hormonal issues
  • Trauma
  • Cancer, congenital abnormality and prostrate disease

Symptoms of a UTI

Urine and stools are the easiest markers to observe and determine the health of a dog — any change in consistency, habits or colouration will have an underlying cause and may need attention. In the case of a UTI, this is how you can identify it:

  • Urine will be cloudy or have bloody colouration
  • The dog may feel pain and whimper while urinating and try to strain, or will pass urine in frequent but small quantities
  • Urination in the house or wanting to be let outside often
  • Dribbling urine
  • Constant licking around the urinary opening
  • A strong odour
  • Increased water consumption

As the infection spreads, fever, lethargy, runny eyes or dry nose and other symptoms will appear.

Diagnosis of a UTI

Different conditions that commonly fall under urinary tract infections (UTI) include:

  • Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB),
  • Cystitis (bladder infection)
  • Prostatitis (infection of the prostate), and
  • Pyelonephritis (infection of kidney)

To determine the exact issue, the vet should do a urinalysis and possibly urine culture. They may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) test that will show the level of infection, liver and kidney function tests that will show any compromise of the organs, and an ultrasound to determine if there is any thickness or swelling of internal organs.

Effective remedy for a UTI

The doctor will prescribe antibiotics for a period of 10 to 14 days to treat the infection. This may be accompanied by a common acidity regulator such as Rantadine. A list of possible medication is mentioned below and can be bought from a medical store for humans.

  • Cefpodoxime 100mg/10kg/ day for Proteus and E-Coli infections
  • Cephalexin 200mg/10kg/ day for Staphyloccocus, Streptococcus, Proteus, E-Coli and Klebsiella infections
  • Doxycycline: 100mg/10kg/day for Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and some activity against E-Coli
  • Gentamycin: 100mg/20kg/day for Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Proteus, E-Coli and Klebsiella

Further steps to address an underlying cause include:

  • Dietary changes including increasing water intake
  • Using wet wipes to clean the urinary opening
  • Urinary acidifier or alkalizer
  • Surgery may be required if there is a congenital condition or to remove bladder stones/tumour

Prevent urinary tract infections easily

Some simple steps that can help in the prevention of UTIs are:

  • Ensuring dogs have sufficient and clean drinking water
  • Regular and thorough grooming including the genital area, especially in long-haired dogs
  • Scheduling regular loo breaks because the longer the urine stays in the bladder, the more the opportunity for bacteria to multiply

Do you find this information valuable? Visit VOSD for comprehensive medical advice.

The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.