Talking about your dog’s urine is something no one wants to do, but you love ‘em, and they’re uncomfortable, so let’s get this over with.
Urinary tract infections are unfortunately quite common, and happen in dogs when a dog’s lower regions doesn’t have the defenses it needs to fight off infections.
Bacteria, usually E. Coli, gathers around the urethral opening and makes its way up the tract.
The most common reason for urinary tract infections is that the immune system is weakened by age, causing bacteria to have a better chance of causing an infection.
Dogs over seven years old are particularly susceptible. Female dogs are, too; as well as smaller breeds of dogs like Shih Tzus and Yorkies.
There are a variety of other reasons for a urinary tract infection, such as kidney and bladder stones, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and even cancer.
But don’t worry too much, because it’s more likely something less severe is causing your dog this discomfort.
If you think your dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection, there are a few tell-tale signs:
- your dog pees frequently or has trouble going
- the pee’s bloody
- cries out in pain while going
Other signs include tiredness, vomiting, fever, and not eating as much.
To be really sure if your dog has a UTI, you’ll need to get a diagnosis from your veterinarian.
It’s better to get it sooner rather than later, ‘cause it’ll take your vet a few days to run tests on your dog’s pee—and the quicker you get to it, the less time your dog will be hurting.
Also, when you’re talking to your vet, be sure to be very detailed about your dog’s symptoms. The more detail, the better.
After your vet gets the results of the urinalysis, they’ll tell you what the cause of all the trouble is, and if it’s an UTI, your vet will likely prescribe your dog medication, probably an antibiotic, or recommend dietary changes.
However, if the infection goes untreated for too long, there’s danger of it working up the urinary tract and infecting the kidneys, and possibly even the heart. If that happens, your dog might have to undergo more complicated treatments which your vet will discuss with you.
It’s also possible your dog’s immune system has been weakened by some underlying condition. This could be something he or she was born with, or diabetes, or a spinal cord injury gone unnoticed.
If that’s the case, your vet will recommend treating the underlying cause, which can include getting your dog intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy (which means your dog will have to get an IV), or your dog might even have to get surgery.
But again, don’t worry too much about these possibilities, because the more treatable causes far outnumber the scarier ones.
So if there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that time is of the essence when it comes to noticing and treating urinary tract infections.
The more time you wait, the sicker your dog will become, and the scarier the treatment might become, so don’t wait; see your vet immediately.
If you suspect your dog might have a urinary tract infection, and you’ve already called the vet, be sure to record any symptoms you observe for your vet to review later and to give your dog plenty of water.
Most of all, don’t panic.