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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

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

Average Cost

$350

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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Labrador Retriever

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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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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0 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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Pit Bull

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Panting, Foul Smelling Pee, Lack Of Appetite, Constant Licking Of Private Areas, Accidents On Self

My girl has had a decrease in appetite over the past few days. Today she has been panting heavy, licking her private areas a lot, and had an accident on herself while standing in the kitchen. Her pee has an absolute foul smell to. I will call and make her a vet appointment tomorrow but they will probably not be able to get me in for atleast a few days so I thought I would reach out for an opinion. Thank you.

July 18, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It sounds like she may have a urinary tract infection or problem with her bladder. Those can be painful, and can lead to problems if untreated. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine her, run a urinalysis, and see what treatment she needs. If you let them know when you call, what is going on, they may be able to get her in sooner. I hope that all goes well for her!

July 18, 2020

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Scarlett

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Chiwauwa

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Couldnt Pee

We just adopted an approx 5 yr old chiwawau female and I noticed she pees a huge amount for small dog. Took to vet for first check up and she was hiven flea and worm medication. She threw up on the way home. Well today she had not peed. She squatted 3 times with no urine. I massaged her belly and privates which she loved the belly rubs. 10 mins later she peed a ton. It doesn't smell bad abd no blood or anything. Looks fine except large amount. We have only had her for a few days. Should i be worried? Could meds have messed her up. She is not in pain and is eating and drinking fine. Any advice?

Aug. 17, 2018

Scarlett's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Difficulty urinating is concerning especially if she is squatting multiple times with no urine produced; you should keep an eye on her but if this is a recurring issue you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 17, 2018

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OG Mason Jones

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pitbull

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5 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Bleeding Peeing Excessive Urine

I just got dog from the SPCA and he was already neutered! Well I noticed after the second day he started peeing all the time and would have blood and blood clots! I did take him to a vet where they gave him medicine for two weeks. The blood and the clots stop but now he is peeing allot and more! Doesn’t really have a smell but it’s allot! And when he drinks water and right after he is done is peeps right there where he is at. He hasn’t finish his meds but I’m really not seeing a difference other than no blood or clots! And I don’t have allot of money to be doing all these test. Could you give me some advice please!

Aug. 6, 2018

OG Mason Jones' Owner

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Without examining him and possibly doing a urine test I cannot start to narrow in on a specific cause; you should complete the medication prescribed and monitor for improvement but there may also be something else occurring here but I cannot determine without an examination. If there is no improvement by the end of the prescription, you should return to your Veterinarian for a follow up to see if there is another underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 6, 2018

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Chien po

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Shar Pei

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My 9 1/2 year old shar pei is having his first UTI . He is very lethargic and has refused all food for over a week, we have resorted to force feeding him blended up wet food through a Turkey baster. He has been on antibiotics since monday and is no longer having accidents in the house. But how long will it take him to get his appetite back? He is and has been drinking well, but he has lost about 15lbs and looks to be just bones

Aug. 3, 2018

Chien po's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It may take a little longer, you need to keep in mind that a common side effect of many antibiotics is a loss of appetite among other symptoms; you should continue with the turkey baster for the time being and complete the course of antibiotics as prescribed. If there is no improvement after completing the course of antibiotics visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 3, 2018

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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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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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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

dog-age-icon

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

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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

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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