Urinary tract infections (UTI) are fairly common in dogs, and as you can imagine, are very uncomfortable. Imagine constantly needing to urinate but being unable to without pain…..ouch!
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, which empty into the bladder via two long thin tubes called ureters. The bladder then empties into the outside world via the urethra- another thin walled tube. Any portion of the urinary tract can become infected or inflamed, and bacterial infection is usually the culprit. Bladder infection is the most common type and is referred to as cystitis.
Bacteria gain entry into the urinary tract from the outside world via the urethra. It then makes itself at home and starts to multiply in any part of the urinary tract, most commonly the bladder. The large numbers of bacteria release nasty substances which cause the tissues to become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain and in some cases, blockage, making it difficult and painful to pass urine. UTI is more common in female dogs as they have a shorter and wider urethra. Infection can also occur in conjunction with calculi (bladder or kidney stones).
Signs of UTI can include:
- Frequent attempts at urination
- Blood in urine
- Inability to urinate
- Horrible smelling urine
- Urinating in inappropriate places
- Lethargy and reduced appetite
Diagnosis of UTI includes a physical exam by your vet, followed by analysis of a urine sample. The sample may be sent to a lab for culture of the bacteria. The vet is likely to prescribe antibiotics and in some cases, anti-inflammatory medications. If calculi are suspected, X-rays may be recommended and special diets or medications may be used to dissolve the stones. Some stones require surgical removal. Most simple UTIs are fairly easily treated and the medications should provide your pet with relief from this painful problem quickly.
Did your pet suffer from this excruciating discomfort? How does your pets diet affect the infection, and what foods would you recommend to try, or to avoid during this painful time?