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What are Urethritis?

Urethritis in dogs is a painful condition in which the urethra becomes inflamed and swollen. As a result of the swelling around the urethra, narrowing within the urethra occurs, which causes strained and often painful urination. 

The urethra is the opening, or tube, in which urine is expelled from the body. The bladder sphincter muscle has the responsibility of keeping the dog’s bladder closed, and this is located at the top of the urethra.  The urethra is connected to the bladder, and in male dogs, this tube is located within the penis. The urethra of female dogs is shorter and slightly wider, therefore, female dogs do not suffer from urethritis as often as males.

Urethritis makes urination painful and difficult by making the dog feel as if he needs to urinate often. When the dog tries to urinate, only a little comes out at a time. This inflammation can become severe, and life-threatening, if the urethra becomes blocked.

Urethritis in dogs is inflammation within the urethra caused by an infection, cancer, or injury. It is characterized by swelling of the urethra in the obstruction of urine flow.

Urethritis Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Urethritis in Dogs

The main symptom of urethritis is the straining and pain when urinating. This is usually a classic sign of the condition, in the veterinarian should be seen as soon as possible. Other symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Genital discharge
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Serious discomfort
  • Pacing, as if trying to find a place to urinate

Types

Urethritis can be quite painful to dogs, and the symptoms can be similar to other types of conditions that affect the bladder, kidneys, and urethra. Similar types of disorders of the lower urinary tract include:

  • Bladder infection
  • Hormone dysfunction
  • Cystitis
  • Kidney infection
  • Weak bladder
  • Congenital abnormality
  • Prostate disease
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Causes of Urethritis in Dogs

Urethra in dogs is caused by a variety of factors. Knowing the causes of urethritis can help prevent this inflammation from occurring. Causes of urethritis include:

  • Bacterial infection (prostate, vagina, or bladder)
  • Stones within the bladder
  • Injury or blunt trauma
  • Chronic granulomatosis
  • Carcinomas
  • Urinary catheter usage
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Diagnosis of Urethritis in Dogs

If your dog is showing symptoms of urethritis or any type of bladder discomfort, call your veterinarian immediately. Once you arrive at the veterinarian’s office he will begin to do a complete physical examination, first by palpating the bladder area with his fingers in order to check for swelling. The veterinarian will perform blood testing, urine testing, and possible imaging in order to check for stones that may cause obstruction.

He will ask you questions pertaining to his symptoms, as he will need to know when his symptoms began and how long they have lasted. He will also need to know if your dog has been in an accident, such as a fall or if he has gotten injured within the area.

Your veterinarian may also want to perform a biopsy of the tissue of the urethra, but this may occur after the diagnosis of urethritis. This may also occur if the x-rays do not pinpoint any bladder stones that could be causing the struggle to urinate.

A cystoscopy may also be performed, which is a tiny viewing device that can be inserted into the urethra with your dog under general anesthesia. This will also aid the veterinarian in viewing the inside of the urethra and give him more information as to the underlying cause.

The blood testing and the urine testing will be enough information for the veterinarian to know precisely what is causing the urethritis, whether it is an infection or stones. If blood testing shows any signs of a more serious health issue, such as possible cancer, your veterinarian will proceed with a definite biopsy and suggestions for treatment methods.

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Treatment of Urethritis in Dogs

Treatment of urethritis is dependent upon the underlying condition. Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the condition, as well as what has caused the inflammation, he will explain to you the treatment plan. Treatment methods may include:

Removal of Obstruction

If your dog is suffering from stones in the bladder, a tumor, or other obstruction, your veterinarian may need to perform a surgical procedure to remove the blockage. This may require a hospital stay for a few days to a week, depending on the complexities of the surgery and how long it takes for him to begin to recover.

Antibiotics

If your dog’s condition is due to a bacterial infection, your medical professional will prescribe antibiotics to fight and get rid of the infection. It will take a few days before they begin to work against the infection; your veterinarian will give you advice on how to care for your dog if he is sent home to take the medication.

Chemotherapy

If your dog has cancer then your veterinarian will discuss with you the options for cancer treatment, namely chemotherapy and radiation. This treatment may begin after any surgery is performed to remove the tumor, if possible.

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

If your companion’s urethritis is caused by chronic granulomatous urethritis, then he will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications help relieve any of the symptoms associated with this condition, such as inflammation and swelling.

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Recovery of Urethritis in Dogs

Once your dog is able to come home from treatment, any treatment given by the veterinarian in terms of medication will continue. Your veterinarian will give you advice on how to properly care for him in his familiar environment, and will alert you to any side effects that the medication may cause, and discuss with you what to watch for in terms of new symptoms or behaviors. It will be important to contact your veterinarian if he develops any alarming symptoms.

Your veterinarian will want to see him again for follow-up visits to be sure he is becoming well again. Capturing these follow-up visits, he may perform additional blood work and urinalysis to check for the status of the infection, if that is what caused the urethritis.

Typically, dogs recover from urethritis once treatment has been successful. In terms of a cancer diagnosis, the prognosis is guarded depending on the level of cancer your dog may have. Your veterinarian will discuss with you the success rate of his cancer and communicate with you any new treatment options that are available.

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Urethritis Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$400

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Urethritis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Chihuahua

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

She is swollen above her private area I don’t know if I should be concerned because I never saw that on her before.

Feb. 5, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

It is hard to determine exactly what you mean from the photo. Vulval swelling typically means oestrus in an unneutered female. If it is the mammary tissue that is swollen, this could be due to a true or pseudo pregnancy. If the swelling has come on slowly, it could also be fat distribution. It would be best to have her assessed by a vet in person so we can best determine what exactly is going on.

Feb. 5, 2021

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Chihuahua

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

My chihuahua is swollen not where she pees from but above her area. It looks like two swollen parts. I don’t know if I’m explaining myself but I’m worried for her.

Feb. 5, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say what might be going on without being able to see your dog, unfortunately. The area that you're describing has glands that can become impacted, or she may be in heat. If it is something that you have noticed has changed, and it does not seem to be improving, it would probably be best to have her seen by your veterinarian, as they can examine her and see what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for her.

Feb. 5, 2021

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Dachshund

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

I noticed my dog licking himself alot and have noticed it's red

Jan. 22, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello He may be licking because the skin is irritated and itchy and licking is their way of scratching. You can try putting a warm compress on the area. If that doesn’t help I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. Good luck.

Jan. 22, 2021

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Border Collie

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

Looking for advice- she was feverish and showing symptoms of UTI. She began peeing in the house two days ago, which she has never done before. At that same time, she didn’t drink enough water for a few days. We’re on day 3, I started her on a cranberry supplement (not juice), she’s had a tbsp of apple cider vinegar with her dinner tonight. She’s been drinking water and I’ve been adding bone broth to encourage more water, but she had a fever tonight (I just broke it with a bath and ice bags). She pees a little bit at a time. She is not lethargic and is acting normal.

Aug. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If dogs have urinary tract infections, the majority of the time, they need antibiotic treatment, and she would probably be much more comfortable if you had her seen by a veterinarian. They would be able to look at a urine sample to see what is going on, examine her, and get appropriate medications so that she feels better. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 11, 2020

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Shoryie

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5 Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Not Urinating

Hi my dog has not peed in more than 24 hrs should I be concerned

July 14, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Yes it would be concerning if your dog has been unable to urinate for the last 24 hours. He needs to see a veterinarian immediately to see if his bladder is enlarged and obstructed. Dogs can get a stone from the bladder that can travel down into the urethra and cause obstruction making them unable to urinate. If this continues the bladder may get large enough that it can rupture. Urethral obstruction can also lead to severely elevated kidney values.

July 14, 2020

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Jasper

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Bernedoodle

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5 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
White Blood Cells In Urine

Our 5 month old male Bernedoodle puppy has had chronic urinary problems since we got him, at 10 weeks old. When we first got him, he needed to urinate literally every 5 minutes. We took a urine sample to the vet, which had crystals and white blood cells in it = UTI and on antibiotics. 2 weeks later, no crystals in the urine, but still many white blood cells. Cystocentesis determined the urine in the bladder was fine, but the infection was happening further down the line. Pup was sent for an ultrasound, where they determined he produces a larger that normal amount of male discharge and it had caused an infection under the foreskin. Flushed it out, on antibiotics. Fast forward to last week. Brought him in for his round of immunizations and they tested his urine = white blood cells again, just like before. Now the Dr. diagnosed him with chronic granulated urethritis and he's on anti-inflammatory meds for life. I am seriously questioning whether this is definitely what his problem is. Vet said they "have ruled everything else out." I just don't know what's going on with him?

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Sadie

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Maltipoo

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Incontinence

2 weeks ago my dog had bladder surgery to remove a bladder stone and one that was stuck in her urethra. She’s still having incontinence and dribbling which the vet said she may just need more time to heal. However now I noticed her skin is swollen above her urethra and kind of sagging down. No blood in urine/urethra and no redness to her urethra either. She can hold urine for 4h at night but can only go 20min without squatting if she’s up and about. Could it be urethritis? Or is a bladder prolapse something that can happen in dogs?

Urethritis Average Cost

From 532 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$400

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