Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

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.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$350

arrow-up-icon

Top

Urinary Tract Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pit Bull

dog-age-icon

Six Years

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

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

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Scarlett

dog-breed-icon

Chiwauwa

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

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

Was this experience helpful?

Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$350

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

advertisement image
ask a vet placeholder
Need pet insurance?