Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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.
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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 5 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 one 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 likely be recommended, 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 is typically 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 5 to 14 days and is usually administered orally. There are also injectable options available.

In the case of a complicated UTI, antimicrobial therapy may be prescribed for 4 to 6 weeks, with a urine culture advised before starting treatment. If a tumor is involved, surgery may be an option. 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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Worried about the cost of Urinary Tract Infection treatment?

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Recovery of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Repeated urine cultures are sometimes 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 might require low dose continuous therapy.  Low dose therapy might 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.

Urinary tract infections can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has a urinary tract infection or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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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

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Shadow

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Cockapoo

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Frequent Attempts At Urination

I have a 12 year old Cockapoo who has recurring UTIs. First appeared 5 months ago with straining to pee and a pinkish urine. We took her to our vet who put her on 28 days of Clavamox. It appeared to start working quickly and we did the whole 28 days. 3 weeks later the symptoms returned. We brought her back to the vet who put her back on Clavamox...this time for 42 days. They checked her urine halfway thru and then again 10 days after ending treatment. It showed no bacteria. One month later....the symptoms returned. Went back on Clavamox again for 28 more days. Cleared up again. 4 days later....symptoms returned. Is it possible that Clavamox, while relieving the symptoms while taking the drug.....is not actually clearing it up completely? We don't think she is picking up a new infection every time because we have had the area around her vulva shaved to avoid dirt and we clean the area daily with a anti-bacteria cleaner we got from our vet. Should the vet be considering a different antibiotic? The Clavamox just doesn't seem to be the permanent answer.

June 18, 2018

Shadow's Owner


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2 Recommendations

Some dogs will have repeated urinary tract infections regardless of efficacy of treatment, however it is possible that the Clavamox (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) is not fully treating the infection. One option is to have a culture and sensitivity test done when the next flare up occurs before you start antibiotic treatment to identify the infection as well as antibiotics the bacteria is susceptible to. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 19, 2018

Our 41/2 yr old Cavapoo also has a UTI, this is her first one. Do you have any recommendations as to what we should be watching for or questions we should directing to our vet? The vet ran no test on her due her bladder being empty but put her on antibiotics for 2 weeks and we will go back for another exam. I hope Shadow gets better! I will be following

June 19, 2018

Mary L.

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Poppy

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

22 Months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Diaohrea Vomiting
Diarrhea

My 22 month German shepherd bitch had diahorea then sickness then lost ability to urinate, her nose was dry and scaly with horrible scaly stuff in nostrils, she was taken to get and sedatedtot empty bladder for a week and given muscle relaxants. She never improved, we took her to another vet who thought he saw shadows in her ovaries and opted to have her opened up to see what was going on but she vomited again and they chose not to operate by to continue with medication,she not getting any better

June 17, 2018

Poppy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It is very difficult to say what may be the issue with Poppy, the shadows on the ovaries are concerning; however for the meantime it is important to get her stabilised and to continue with the current course of treatment. Without examining her myself, reviewing test results etc… it is very difficult to weigh in with a possible diagnosis if two Veterinarians who have examined her are not sure what the cause may be. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 18, 2018

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Urinary Tract Infection Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$350

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