What is Urinating Blood?
Symptoms in your dog may be present for some time before you, as the owner, notices that your pet is urinating blood, known as hematuria. Many times, owners may not notice until a normally well housebroken dog begins to have accidents in the house, and you notice blood in the urine as you clean it. Sometimes a mucous-like discharge will be present along with the bloody urine. Some dogs will seem to be straining when urinating, and you may notice lethargy. Often a dog will also need to urinate more than usual. While finding blood in your dog’s urine can be frightening, not all causes are life-threatening. Also, it is important to distinguish between blood from the urinary tract and blood from the genitals or rectum. Blood mixed with urine will often have a pinkish color. Darker blood will most likely come from another source. Some causes of bloody urine are:
- Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
- Kidney infection
- Bladder or kidney stones
- Urethral prolapse
It should also be mentioned here that intact females may be experiencing estrus, which can easily be confused with blood in the urine. Estrus will be accompanied by vaginal swelling and will only last 7 to 10 days. If your dog is at least six months old and is not spayed, this may be the cause of the bloody appearance of her urine. However, if you notice your intact female exhibiting a foul-smelling, bloody vaginal discharge that contains mucous, especially if she went through estrus a few weeks prior to these symptoms, your dog may have pyometra, a uterine infection, which should be treated by a vet immediately.
Why Urinating Blood Occurs in Dogs
Cystitis is caused by an infection in the bladder. You may notice your dog straining, but only producing a small amount of urine. You may also notice your dog squatting and dribbling small amounts of urine in multiple places. Your vet will do a urinalysis to confirm the presence of bacteria in the bladder. Antibiotics will often clear infections causing cystitis. No dog breed is more or less susceptible to cystitis.
A dog experiencing a kidney infection will experience pain during urination, frequent urges to urinate, licking the genitals, and fever. Your vet will probably first do a palpitation of the abdominal area to check your dog’s response. A urinalysis will also be in order. Kidney infections can normally be treated with antibiotics. No dog breed is more or less susceptible to kidney infections, although they do appear more in older dogs.
Bladder or Kidney Stones
If your dog is experiencing stones in the urinary tract, he will most likely exhibit pain during urination, straining to urinate, and bloody urine. Your vet will perform a urinalysis, possible blood work, and maybe x-rays to ensure that stones are to blame. Sometimes surgery will be necessary, but overall, dietary changes are a must. No particular breed of dog is more or less susceptible to bladder or kidney stones.
Stiff gait, cloudy/bloody urine, lethargy, weight loss, and abdominal discomfort are characteristic of a male dog experiencing prostatitis. Your vet will do a urine culture and blood work; he or she may also do x-rays. If prostatitis is diagnosed, your dog will undergo a four week long run of antibiotic treatment. The vet will perform a recheck within two weeks of beginning treatment to ensure that the infection is going away. Sometimes neutering your dog is recommended.
Generally, tumors in the urinary tract system are caused by tumors in the adrenal glands. The affected area will need to be removed.
Male dogs are those generally affected by urethral prolapse. You will notice a “red pea” on the tip of his penis, and other symptoms include increased abdominal pressure and bleeding from the urethra when not urinating. Young and middle aged dogs are more prone to this condition. Your vet will perform a urinalysis and an abdominal ultrasound. Sometimes neutering will be recommended, other times antibiotics can be used to treat any infections causing the prolapse.
What to do if your Dog is Urinating Blood
While bleeding during urination is not an uncommon thing and may have less serious causes, every dog experiencing bloody urine should be seen by a vet. Your veterinary provider will generally begin by palpitating your dog for tenderness in the affected area and may suggest a urinalysis and blood work to look for signs of bacteria, crystals in the urine or markers indicative of an infection or other underlying health condition.
Prevention of Urinating Blood
Always make sure that your dog has free access to water, and be careful about feeding your dog a high protein diet. This can prevent kidney stones and keep his system flushed out so that bacteria will not build up and cause infections. An annual wellness check, which will include a urinalysis and palpation of the abdomen, may alert your veterinarian to a health condition that is developing.
Cost of Urinating Blood
Treating issues that cause blood in the urine can be expensive. For example, the cost to treat kidney stones, which can include surgical measures, averages at S3500.
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Urinating Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
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I just noticed dark red drops of blood today on a walk with my dog when she peed. She doesn't show signs of pain or discomfort and was acting normal on our walk. This is the first time I have noticed it. There is no change in her mood or anything else. Reading everything online worries me because I do not have the means to get her seen and treated at the vet.
April 5, 2018
Dr. Michele K. DVM
If Penelope is urinating blood, she does need to be seen by a veterinarian. She may have a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or a tumor. Either one needs to be treated. Many clinics offer a free first exam to have her looked at, so that you can start therapy for her.
April 5, 2018
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