Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

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

What is Urinary Tract Obstruction?

A urinary tract obstruction is typically caused by stones in the urethra. A partial or full blockage results in difficulty urinating, which may lead to dangerously high levels of potassium and other conditions. This is more common in male dogs, though it may occur in female dogs as well. All cases of obstruction need to be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible to reestablish urine flow.

When a stone forms or is carried into the urinary tract, it may block the flow of urine. If your dog is straining to urinate, see a veterinarian immediately, as a full blockage is a serious condition that needs to be treated right away to prevent permanent damage or death.

Urinary Tract Obstruction Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $400 - $4,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from a urinary tract obstruction, he or she may exhibit a range of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • More frequent bathroom trips
  • Bloody urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Pain

Your dog may be more prone to accidents in the house, and when he or she does urinate, the amount will be small and appear as a thin stream.

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Causes of Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

A urinary tract obstruction is typically caused by a stone lodging in the urethra, narrowing the tube through which urine passes. These stones may either form in the urinary tract or be carried out from the bladder. Tumors, inflammation, and disease of the prostate gland may also result in an obstruction in the urinary tract.

Though these obstructions can occur in both male and female dogs, it is more prevalent in the former and result in more severe illness due to the males’ long, narrow urethras. Any stone that passes through has a higher likelihood of lodging and creating a full obstruction.

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Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

If you notice your dog straining to urinate, or if you find blood in your dog’s urine, visit the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will palpate your dog’s bladder and urethra and perform a rectal examination, which may reveal stones in the bladder or urinary tract or an enlarged prostate in male dogs. Other diagnostic tests that may help identify the obstruction include:

  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture
  • Blood test
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Biopsy of tissue from the urinary tract

Imaging can help discover suspicious masses, such as bladder stones or tumors, while blood work and urinalysis test electrolyte and kidney values and reveal bacteria or crystals. By performing a variety of tests, your veterinarian can both discover the source of the obstruction and establish the extent of the damage to other areas. An inability to urinate may lead to infection, elevated potassium levels, and kidney damage, all of which will need to be addressed as part of your dog’s treatment.

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Treatment of Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

Depending on the extent of the blockage, your dog may need to be hospitalized until urine flow has been reestablished. This is typically accomplished by inserting a catheter into the urethra to drain urine and by flushing the stones back into the bladder. If the obstruction cannot be removed with this method, surgery may be required.

The urinary tract obstruction itself is not a disease but rather a symptom of another condition, such as bladder stones or cancer, which will need to be addressed to prevent future blockage.

Medical Management

Once the stone has been flushed into the bladder, it can be dissolved through a combination of drugs and a prescription diet. Certain foods may soften the stone enough for it to pass through the urethra successfully. Fluid therapy prevents your dog from becoming dehydrated while moving waste and toxins out of the bloodstream more quickly.

Surgical Treatment

For male dogs with an enlarged prostate, castration is standard in order to reduce the prostate’s size. Surgery may also be necessary to remove the stones from the bladder or urethra if they cannot be broken up by ultrasonic waves or dissolved by less invasive means.

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Recovery of Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

Once the obstruction has been removed and your dog is able to pass urine normally again, you must ensure that your dog is receiving enough fluids in order to flush out accumulated waste. Monitor your dog’s urination frequency and amount, and check for blood in the urine. Administer any prescribed medication according to your veterinarian’s instructions, and provide your dog with easy access to clean, fresh water.

If your dog underwent surgery as part of the treatment process, you will need to restrict physical activity and enforce plenty of rest until the surgical site has healed. You may need to bring your dog back to your veterinarian for follow-up exams to ensure that the stone has dissolved and that the obstruction has not returned.

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Urinary Tract Obstruction Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $400 - $4,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Urinary Tract Obstruction Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pika

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Miniature Schnauzer

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2 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Urinating
Lethargic
Enlarged Prostate

Hello, my male schnauzer has been having difficulty urinating for the last 3 days. I’ve taken him to the vet where they did x-rays and a urinalysis which came back showing casts and crystals. The doctor did not see any stones on the X-ray but believes there is a stone because when she inserted a catheter it stopped at a certain point. She has said that the condition is serious and surgery may be needed which would cost thousands, something I can’t afford. She did empty his bladder but still he has trouble urinating and seems to be very uncomfortable. He is on tramadol for pain and zenequin for any infection. She did mention his prostate is enlarged and his bladder is full. Because I can’t afford the surgery she is recommending we switch him to a urinary diet but doesn’t believe it will help in time. She has been very helpful and understanding of my financial situation but doesn’t believe he will make it if the stone isn’t removed soon. I know it’s horrible but I asked about putting him down as he is in pain and I hate seeing him that way. She did mentioned I could surrender him to them and they would find him a home. How long can he go with this obstruction? How long should I let it continue before I make a decision?

April 25, 2018

Pika's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

If Pika is unable to urinate, that is a very serious condition, and is not a fair condition for him to live in. Since I can't see him, Im not sure what distress he may be in, but from your description, he needs frequent re-evaluations by your veteirnarian to make sure that he isn't suffering. I am sorry that that is happening with him, and hope that you are able to make the right decision for him.

April 25, 2018

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Baxter

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Puggle

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Urinatioin

WE have a Puggle who has some sort of bladder problem. He was treated for bladder infection for 3 weeks and still has some blood in his urine. Vet did a culture that showed no infection and did an xray that showed nothing. Yesterday he tried to pee for a long time and just did a little. In the middle of the night he whined to go outside. Just outside the door he urinated that sounded like a horse. Could he have passed a stone that the xray didnt show?

March 21, 2018

Baxter's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Some stones do not show up on x-rays, and are best seen on an ultrasound. Prostate disease can also cause the signs that you are describing, as can bladder cancer. An ultrasound might be the next best step to try and determine what is going on with him. I hope that he is okay.

March 21, 2018

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Urinary Tract Obstruction Average Cost

From 16 quotes ranging from $400 - $4,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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