Canine Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria infects your dog’s immune system. The invasion and colonisation of bacteria in the urinary bladder and/or the upper portion of the urethra often results when the local defence system – which helps protect against infection – is impaired.

Dogs will usually suffer from urinary tract infection as a result of ingesting unclean food or water that contains various forms of bacteria. Any age dog can be affected, but vulnerability increases with advancing age. In such cases, stone formation, prostrate disease and tumors are frequently seen.

Symptoms – In most cases, urinary tract infection is undetectable in dogs until it causes pain during urination in its later stages.

  • Inflammation of the affected tissue
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Cloudy or malodorous urine
  • Frequent urination, but only in small amounts
  • Urinary incontinence, especially during confinement or at places that are not customary (i.e., locations he has not peed before)
  • Urination when bladder is touched (occasional)

Causes – E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Proteus spp. account for more than half of all cases of bacterial infections of the lower urinary tract. Less common bacteria include Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and Corynebacterium spp.

Diagnosis – You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. They  will then perform a complete physical examination as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count. Although the results of the blood count and biochemistry profile are often normal, urinalysis findings will provide valuable information for initial diagnosis. For instance, pus, blood, or proteins are often seen in the urine. The urine sample, which is taken from the bladder with a syringe, is then cultured to grow the causative bacteria (allowing for sensitivity testing). Once the bacteria is identified, your veterinarian will recommend suitable antibiotics for treatment. X-rays and ultrasonography of the lower urinary tract may also reveal the presence of stone or other abnormal lesion.

Treatment – Prognosis will ultimately depend on the diagnosis; however, most dogs require little more than antibiotics to resolve the infection. In cases of severe and complicated infections with obstructions, surgery may be required. Dietary changes may also be implemented to prevent future episodes of stone formation. If long-term antibiotic treatment is recommended, watch your dog for adverse effects, such as allergies, and immediately call your veterinarian if they should arise.Urine cultures are done 7-10 days after completion of therapy. If infection is still present, more prolonged antibiotic therapy or changing the antibiotic may be required.

Cranberry Extract  – used during an active urinary tract infection can greatly increase the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy and reduce the likelihood of antibiotic failure. Dogs that have recurrent chronic urinary tract infections can be given cranberry extract as maintenance therapy to help prevent recurrence. Cranberry extract contains compounds that prevent bacteria from attaching themselves to the cellular lining of the urinary tract. D-mannose is a sugar monomer that is thought to interfere with E. coli ability to adhere to urinary tract cells. E. coli is the most common bacteria involved in canine urinary tract infections.

Preventive Measures
Wash your dog’s water and food bowls on a daily basis to prevent mould and other bacteria from growing in them.

Bathe and groom your dog on a regular basis. If your dog’s genital area is dirty, bacteria can enter the body from the urethra and travel into the urinary tract.Cut long hair away from your dog’s genitals to keep the area clean and sanitary.
Replace your dog’s drinking water with fresh water once per day. Water will naturally flush out bacteria and other harmful microorganisms from your dog’s urinary tract.

Provide your dog with appropriate portions of healthy, all-natural food. Dog food that contains chemicals, preservatives and food colouring will weaken your dog’s immune system and make it more susceptible to a urinary tract infection. Remove leftover food from your dog’s bowl to prevent bacteria growth and contamination.

Exercise your dog on a daily basis to stimulate the bladder. Activities such as running, walking, climbing stairs or swimming will help clean out the urinary tract.

Feed your dog at regular intervals using a consistent schedule. Eating routines will help familiarise your dog’s ability to digest and urinate on a regular, consistent basis. Add water to your dog’s food to increase its fluid intake if it does not drink enough water that causes it to frequently urinate.

Give your dog urination breaks as frequently as possible. Urine contains bacteria and can cause urinary tract infection if it remains in your dog’s bladder for several hours.