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An Owner’s Guide to Pet Urinary Tract Infections

pet urinary tract infectionsYou suddenly notice that your normally very housebroken dog is having accidents in your living room. She is asking to go outside constantly and seems to be drinking a lot.

This not-uncommon scenario strikes panic into the heart of many a pet owner. There are multiple things that might cause these symptoms, but not to worry. Pet Medical Center & Spa is here to help, and thankfully pet urinary tract infections are no match for our expert team.

Noticing Pet Urinary Tract Infections

The body is typically very good about keeping unwelcome bacteria out of places it does not belong. Sometimes, though, bacteria are able to make their way up into the bladder.

Most pet urinary tract infections stay within the bladder, resulting in irritation, discomfort, and changes including:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence/loss of housetraining
  • Noticeable blood in the urine

There are certainly other disease processes that can appear similarly to a urinary tract infection. It is important to let us know right away if you think that your pet might have a urinary tract infection.

When we suspect urinary trouble, we will often check a urine sample (urinalysis). We may also recommend culturing the urine. These tests give us the information we need to diagnose and treat pet urinary tract infections successfully.

Banishing a UTI

Once we have diagnosed a urinary tract infection, it is essential that we treat it properly. In most instances, a pet with a UTI will be treated for about 14 days with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Typically  the pet will be feeling better within the first few days, but it is very important finish the antibiotic as prescribed. Not doing so may result in recurrence of infection or lead to the development of resistant bacteria.

Sometimes a pet patient does not respond to treatment as expected. This may be due to an underlying factor that predisposes him or her to urinary problems. Further testing may be recommended if your pet is not improving or is having frequent urinary tract infections. Complicating factors may include:

  • Urinary stones
  • Anatomical variants
  • Masses or growths in the urinary tract
  • Metabolic or endocrine conditions such as diabetes or Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Immunosuppression
  • Abnormal urine pH

Luckily most urinary tract infections are easily treated. It is important to treat them early and aggressively, however, to prevent complications such as kidney infection (pyelonephritis) and stone development.

Pet urinary tract infections certainly uncomfortable. Please let us know right away if your pet is showing signs of trouble. The sooner we diagnose the problem the more quickly your pet will be feeling better, and that is our primary purpose!