What is Pyuria?
Pyuria is a condition that is best recognized by the appearance of white blood cells, which are detected in the urine, and is usually associated with a urinary tract infection though it may be caused by other diseases as well. It is typically diagnosed when a urinalysis is performed to test for other conditions. Treatment varies depending on the source of the pyuria though the underlying cause must be addressed in order to resolve the issue.Pyuria is a symptom of other conditions, typically of an infection somewhere in the urinary tract. It is characterized by the presence of white blood cells in the urine and is usually accompanied by bacteria, which may be addressed by treating the underlying cause.
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Symptoms of Pyuria in Dogs
Because pyuria itself is a symptom of another disease, dogs will not show clinical signs of the condition. Most dogs with a urinary tract infection, which is the most common cause of pyuria, are asymptomatic, but some may present symptoms arising from the underlying cause. These clinical signs include:
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy urine
Causes of Pyuria in Dogs
When white blood cells are detected in a dog's urine, there is a high probability of an infection somewhere in the urinary tract. The infection may be anywhere within the tract, including the kidneys, the bladder, and the urethra. Pyuria can also be caused by kidney stones or by genital tract contamination, such as in the prostate gland or vagina. In some cases, noninfectious, or sterile, pyuria may occur, leading to white blood cells in the urine without any accompanying bacteria.
Diagnosis of Pyuria in Dogs
Pyuria is often an incidental finding, one that is diagnosed when the dog is examined for other conditions. Regardless of the reason for your visit, the veterinarian will conduct a physical examination and take a history of your dog's health. Based on findings and on the information you provide, further testing may be performed, including blood work and a urinalysis.
A urine culture is the standard diagnostic tool for discovering a urinary tract infection. The presence of pyuria, with or without accompanying bacteria, will be discovered through the urinalysis. A leukocyte esterase reaction tests for white blood cells in a dog's urine and will reveal pyuria if present.
Depending on the results of the tests and corresponding analysis by your pet's healthcare team, the veterinarian will make recommendations either for treatment or for more extensive testing to pinpoint the cause of the infection. Radiography, ultrasound, biopsy, or explorative surgery may be necessary to diagnose the underlying source of the pyuria.
Treatment of Pyuria in Dogs
Treatment for pyuria varies depending on the underlying cause. Most urinary tract infections can be addressed with medication, including amoxicillin, ampicillin, cefovecin, and tetracycline. Antimicrobial drugs are typically effective against these infections and may be prescribed as pills or as injections. If your dog is resistant to antimicrobials, or if the pyuria is a symptom of another disease, the veterinarian will recommend another treatment accordingly.
Recovery of Pyuria in Dogs
Depending on the cause of the pyuria, recovery and management may be different. Provide your dog with a quiet place to rest regardless of the treatment, and make sure he has access to fresh water. If the veterinarian has prescribed medication, administer the full dose according to instructions. Monitor your dog for worsening or new symptoms during this time, and let the veterinarian know if anything changes.
In most cases, the veterinarian may recommend or strongly suggest a follow-up examination to ensure that the treatment is working and that your dog is recovering. This exam may include a urinalysis to test for pyuria and to check that the urinary tract infection has resolved.