The term urinary tract infection describes a variety of conditions infecting the urinary tract. The conditions that UTI describes include:
- Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB),
- Cystitis (bladder infection)
- Prostatitis (infection of the prostate), and
- Pyelonephritis (infection of kidney)
Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes mellitus more commonly develop UTIs than the general population.
What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Dogs?
The most common reason for UTI is a bacterial infection most commonly E. Coli which enters upwards through the urethral opening. The infection can develop when faeces enter the urethral opening, or the dog’s immune system is weakened from lack of nutrients. However, there may other underlying causes including:
- Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
- Bladder inflammation or infection
- Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder/hormonal issue
- Other reasons may include Cancer, Congenital abnormality & Prostrate disease
Symptoms of UTIs in Dogs:
Passing urine and defecation are the easiest to observe markers of health for your dog — any change in consistency, habits, colouration has typically some underlying cause and may need attention. In the case of UTI the dogs’
- Urine will be cloudy or have bloody colouration
- The dog may have pain while passing urine and show straining or whimpering during urination or will pass urine in frequent but small quantities
- Frequent urination in the house or wanting to be let outside more frequently
- Dribbling urine
- Constant Licking around the urinary opening
- A strong odour to the urine
- Increased water consumption
As the infection spreads fever, lethargy, runny eyes or dry nose and other symptoms will appear.
Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Problems
Once you suspect UTI take your dog to a vet. The vet should do a urinalysis and possibly urine culture and may recommend blood work including CBC tests that will show the level of infection, LFT/KFT test that will show any compromise of the kidneys and liver and an ultrasound to determine the thickness or swelling of internal organs.
Antibiotics will be required to treat the infection for a period of 10 days to 14 days. All drugs are available at human chemists/ drug stores. Antibiotics may be accompanied by a common acidity regulator such as Rantadine
- 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 & Klebsiella
Further steps may be required to address an underlying cause including:
- Dietary changes may be recommended including increasing water intake
- Using wet wipes to keep the urinary opening clean
- Urinary acidifier or alkalizer
- Surgery may be required if there is a congenital condition or to remove bladder stones or tumour
Some simple steps that can help in the prevention of UTIs are
- Ensuring the supply of clean drinking water for the dog(s)
- Keeping the dog well-groomed especially if they are long-haired dogs and especially around the genital area
- Ensuring the potty breaks are frequent since the longer urine stays in the bladder the more the opportunity for bacteria to multiply.
The information contained in these blog posts is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. 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.