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Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs: How to Recognize it, Causes and Treatment

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs: How to Recognize it, Causes and Treatment

While not every dog will end up developing a UTI in their life it is still a fairly common condition that can make your dog very uncomfortable. Below, our Southern Wisconsin vets share some of the most common symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs, and what treatment options are available to help your dog feel well again.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Dogs

Approximately 27% of dogs will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their life, with a large percentage of those being caused by a bacterial infection. However, there are a number of other reasons why your dog may be suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI including:

  • Viral infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Crystals
  • bladder inflammation
  • Weak bladder
  • Fungal infection
  • Kidney disease
  • spinal cord disease
  • Prostrate disease
  • Cancer

Signs That Your Dog May Have a UTI

Symptoms of a UTI in dogs can be distressing for pet parents, as well as uncomfortable for your pet. If your canine companion has a UTI you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Accidents in the house
  • Dribbling urine
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Blood in urine
  • Signs of pain while urinating 
  • Licking excessively following urination

Treating UTI in Dogs

If your dog has a UTI it is essential to see your vet so that the cause of your dog's symptoms can be diagnosed. 

The treatment recommended to clear up your pup's UTI will be determined by the underlying cause of your dog's symptoms.

Pain Management

  • A UTI can be very painful 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 painkillers may be administered by injection.

Antibiotics

  • 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 reinfection which 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 dogs, prostate disease can be controlled with chemical or surgical castration, and the growth of bladder tumors may be slowed with medications. 

Dietary Modifications

  • 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. 

Surgery

  • 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 detectable 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 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. 

If your dog is suffering from the painful symptoms of a urinary tract infection contact our vets at Badger Veterinary Hospital & Equine Services in Southern Wisconsin right away to book an examination for your pup. 

New Patients Welcome

Badger Veterinary Hospital & Equine Services is accepting new patients. Our team is passionate about the health of animals from across Southern Wisconsin. Contact our closest location to book your first appointment today!

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