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What is Urinary Tract Infection?

The urethra and bladder are normally sterile environments. However, infectious agents can invade the urinary tract and easily colonize, especially if the normal urinary tract defenses are compromised. Defenses against bacteria can be diminished because of factors such as aging or disease (diabetes for example). E Coli (Escherichia coli) is the most common bacterium to cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria adhere to the urinary tract and begins to multiply. Bacterial urinary tract infections are relatively common in canines, with females being more susceptible than males. If not attended to, a urinary tract infection can lead to serious complications, including scarring and eventual kidney failure.

Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

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Average Cost

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Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Some dogs may be asymptomatic with a urinary tract infection. Signs that a dog is suffering from a bacterial invasion can vary, depending upon the extent of the infection and whether underlying diseases are complicating the illness. If you feel that your dog is having difficulty urinating, or is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, take him to the veterinary clinic without delay.

  • Licking of the urinary opening
  • Apparent difficulty urinating
  • Urinating in small amounts, frequently (pollakiuria)
  • Slow, painful voiding (stranguria)
  • Cloudy or malodorous urine
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Incontinence
  • Voiding large amounts of urine (polyuria) because of increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
Types

Urinary tract infection is usually classified in two ways.

  • Uncomplicated UTI
    • There is no underlying structural, functional or neurological abnormality found
    • The UTI will usually improve within 48 hours of commencement of treatment
    • The treatment course is 10 to 14 days
  • Complicated UTI
    • There is a predisposing cause for the UTI
    • Treatment could involve a therapy course of 4 to 6 weeks
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Causes of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

While bacteria is the main reason that a urinary tract infection may develop, there are many other factors that can predispose your canine family member, or further complicate the instance of a UTI.

  • Immunosuppression from medication or steroids
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Prostatitis
  • Neurological abnormalities
  • Polyps
  • Tumors
  • Bladder stones
  • Stress
  • Anatomic abnormalities
  • Reduced mucosal defense
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Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

When you decide to transport and bring your canine companion to the clinic, the veterinary team will be ready to quickly diagnose the reason for your pet’s discomfort. The veterinarian may begin the visit with the following questions.

  • How long has your dog been unwell?
  • Can you tell us about the behavioral changes you have noticed, such as dietary habits or activity level?
  • Has your dog been prescribed any medications of late, and how did he respond to the treatment?
  • What kind of urinary changes have you observed?

A physical exam will take place and will most likely include palpation of the abdomen to check for pain or renal abnormalities. Diagnostic tests could comprise of a biochemical profile (to check for underlying disease), and a complete blood count (to verify the increase in white blood cells). A urinalysis will be done which may indicate the presence of proteins, pus, and blood, and to analyze the PH level of the urine. The urine may then be cultured in order to grow and verify the bacteria responsible for the UTI. (The existence of bacteria is a pretty definitive way to diagnose a UTI.)

The veterinary specialist may also want to perform an ultrasound or radiograph, to look for stones or lesions. A contrast study could be possible because it is an excellent way to look for anatomic defects.

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Treatment of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Treatment of an infection of the urinary tract should be straightforward. In cases of an uncomplicated UTI, treatment will be the administration of antimicrobials (an agent such as antibiotics, that destroys or inhibits the growth of microorganisms). The treatment will last between 10 to 14 days and is usually administered orally. There are also injectable options available.

In the case of a complicated UTI, antimicrobial therapy will be prescribed for 4 to 6 weeks, with a urine culture advised after one week of treatment in order to test for efficacy. Of course, if a tumor is involved, surgery will be required. Any underlying cause or complication must be addressed along with the treatment for the urinary tract infection to have complete resolution. In both complicated and uncomplicated UTI’s, pain relief medication will be given if needed.

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Recovery of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Repeated urine cultures are necessary to verify if the antimicrobial agents have done the trick. In the case of a complicated UTI, the usual culture after one week of treatment will be repeated, prior to the end of the medication period, and then again a week to 10 days after the treatment has stopped. This may seem excessive but is absolutely essential in order to conclude if the chosen protocol will cure your pet of the pain and infection.

Though most UTI’s clear up without complication once the treatment has begun, there can be instances where the antimicrobials do not seem to be effective.

  • Noncompliance by the pet owner. Never stop the treatment before the veterinarian gives the go-ahead.
  • The treatment may need to be repeated because the initial course was not long enough.
  • There could be an antimicrobial resistance, in which case a different one will need to be prescribed.
  • There could be an underlying cause that was not previously discovered or recognized.

Chronic urinary tract infection will require low dose continuous therapy. This will most often resolve the problem. Low dose therapy can be discontinued once the veterinarian verifies, through urine culture, 6 months of bacteria free urine.

Studies are in process to determine if giving your dog cranberry juice, or extract can be beneficial for non-adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract (the same as it seems to for humans).

As always, contact the veterinary team at any time if you have questions or concerns about the treatment prescribed for your furry family member.

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Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

From 22 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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Urinary Tract Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pomeranian

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

My Pomeranian had blood work done on January 16-17 in the emergency vet hospital due to tobacco poisoning. He was home and fine until Thursday the 21st when there was blood in his urine. He is still eating drinking water seems to be happy but the pee smells fishy. Does he have a UTI

Jan. 26, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, this does sound like he may have a urinary tract infection. It would be best for your vet to check a urine sample and see if there is an infection or something more going on causing him to pee blood.

Jan. 26, 2021

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Pit Bull

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing Licking Peeing On Bed All Of A Sudden

She breaths heavy, started peeing where she lays, seems more anxious than usual

Dec. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello so sorry to hear about your dog . This could be many this from upper respiratory issue to seizure or UTI. It would be best for you vet to see your dog to see what is causing this to happen. They would be able to prescribe medications to help.

Dec. 29, 2020

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Border Collie

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Biting Genitals And White On Outside Of Urethra Area

my dog has started chewing around her groin and has a white powder looking on the outside of urethra. She has also started barking and nipping more which I think means she may be in pain

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds like something might be going on with her urinary tract, and the best thing to do would be to have her seen by a veterinarian. They can examine her, analyze a urine sample if needed, and let you know what treatment she may need. I hope that she feels better soon!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Goldendoodle

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Eleven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Urinating In House

CONSTANT urination. On oral antibiotics for a week

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Puppies can have problems with ectopic ureters, or other types of infections. If it is not improving with antibiotics, It would be best to have your pet rechecked by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 15, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Constantly Wanting To Urinate. Urinating In House (She Is Potty Trained) And Sometimes Going Outside But Unable To Pee. She Just Finished Her Bleeding Part Of First Heat Cycle.

What can we do until she can be seen by her vet?

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. She does sound like she may have a urinary tract infection, and those can be quite uncomfortable as anyone who has ever had one will tell you. There is no treatment for that at home, and it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible so that she is not in pain. They will be able to examine her and see more what's going on, and get medication so that she is comfortable and back to her normal self again. I hope that all goes well for her!

July 25, 2020

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Rita

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Chihuahua

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12 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Urination

The vet performed a urinalysis on my dog and said it was good. I called and asked to see the results and I’m wondering if you agree. I collected the sample and brought it in. Here are the results: Color: Med yellow Appearance: clear Spec gravity: 1.029 Protein: negative Nitrate: negative Casts: Occ Gram??? (Can’t read what he wrote next to this) WBC: Occ Bacteria: Few Cocci Sugar: negative Ketones: negative Blood: negative Bile: negative Urobilinogen: normal pH: 7.5 Epithelium: Occ

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Sesco

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Siberian Husky

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Genitals

my dog first started peeing in the house from three months and he only did it for few days and then stopped so i just thought maybe i didn't walk him enough but now its been a month and more and he hadn't stopped peeing in the house . at first he used to bark to let us know that he peed now he doesnt and pees in silence. he could be sleeping and suddenly gets up and pees, so we took him to the vet and he was dignosed with UTI and no kidney stones were found. the vet prescribed him ciprofloxacin for a course of 10 days but we're 8 days through and he's not getting any better. also when we asked other owners they told us maybe he wants to mate is that relatable? ( he's not neutered)

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Pickles

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Springer spaniel

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Tired
Thirst
Unconsciously Urinating

My dog has been urinating on the carpet in small but frequent amounts. She also has been drinking lots of water. She is normally really good at telling us when she wants to go outside but it seems that she is urinating without knowing she is doing it? She is a rescue dog so we don't know her past medical history but she has been spayed. We already took her to the vets and they gave her medication for a UTI but she is still urinating 4 days after the medication started? When we took her she also had a high temperature and she looks as though she has lost weight. Have you any idea of what this is and what we should do about it?

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Luca

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Labrador Retriever

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11 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Weighloss No Appetite Weak

My 11 yo dog ( lab/ pit) started slowly losing weight, drinking loudy, then quietly.. started breathing loudly at times . Urinating frequently. Now hes skin and bones and so weak. Being hand fed and water. Has had multiple exams. Tested+ for Uti - still wasnt bouncing back after 10 days so I went for another urine analysis and still present minus the bacteria( was told antibiotic would remove) hes so weak, falling over. Hand feeding him like 6 times a day, syringe water, giving "rebound " starting more antibiotics today. I feel like a uti shouldnt be killing him? 💔

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Maverick

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Excessive Thirst
Lack Of Appetite
Low Rbc
Wbc In Urine

9 year old, Male, Neutered, yellow lab has had urine incontinence by dribbling. weight 67lbs. Drinks tons of water. Took to vet and was negative on crystals, had watery urine (due to excessive thirst)& WBC in urine, Cytology showed an "abundant cocci bacteria". Was concerned on how he developed such a severe infection. He licks his genitals frequently and also his anus way before the urine dripping. (wondering if we should be concerned of a parasite that is causing the obsessive licking--which created the bladder infection?) Did a pre-anesthetic blood profile test, kidneys, liver, etc are great but had slightly low RBC count (not sure why). Blood test also showed high level of "IP" and "Glob" which signals inflammation (we figured from severe infection/staph is what they said). We were given 750 MG of Cephalexin. Treatment is over and now I am seeing recurrent urine dribbling symptoms (but suddenly) and a little worse (trail of dribbles) and increased thirst again. I am going to catch his urine tomorrow am to bring test and go from there with our vet. Questioning how much this is goin to cost (Im having a hard time affording extensive vet tests and care w 2 kids). What antibiotics should we be on for this specific colonization of bacteria? Should I be concerned of sepsis with such a "extreme" bladder infection? And how much do ultrasounds typically run (sounds like I may have to do that if medications do not work). Thank you -Ash

Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

From 22 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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