Can You Spot a Bladder Infection in Dogs?
Bladder infections in dogs (also known as Cystitis) are a lot more common than you would expect and thankfully, most are cleared up with a short course of antibiotics. However symptoms of several other serious urinary tract problems closely resemble those of bladder infections, especially in the early stages. If treated improperly, your dog could suffer a lot longer than needed. This is why it’s important for owners to familiarize themselves with urinary issues in their dogs and have them checked out by a vet.
The Canine Urinary Tract
Human and canine urinary systems function in much the same way. After urine is produced in the kidneys, it then flows down into the bladder. As the bladder gets fuller, the urgency to go increases. While healthy urine is sterile as it leaves the urethra, there is harmful bacteria from the outside that can enter the body through this area. From there, bacteria can make its way up into the bladder, causing infection to set in. In female dogs, the urethra is closer to the rectum, the ground, and the genital areas than in males, making them more prone to contracting these infections.
Signs of a Bladder Infection in Dogs
Bladder infections in dogs cause severe inflammation of the bladder walls which is what triggers the urge to go even if little or no liquid has accumulated. The most common indication that something may be wrong is seeing your dog frequently squatting and/or straining to urinate without little end result. Oftentimes, when urine is produced by a dog with an infection it will be mixed with blood, producing an orange-colored stream or cloudy rather than clear and has a strong odor. Other warning signs include:
– Bladder control loss in the home
– Whimpering when urinating
– Urine leaking uncontrollably
– Excessive licking of the urethra area
– Increased intake of water
– Your dog becoming lethargic
If you notice such symptoms in your dog, call your vet and reserve the first available appointment.
Symptoms Indicating A Severe Medical Emergency
If left untreated, a bladder or urinary tract infection can become life-threatening very quickly. If your dog is feverish, is experiencing tenderness in the area, and/or is crying in pain constantly and unable to pass urine, seek emergency medical help immediately, as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises. Bladder infections that spread past the bladder and up to the kidney can cause organs to begin to shut down and do irreversible damage. Bladder stones can also form and cause infections and blockage. If these stones become severe enough they can block the flow of urine trying to exit the body and cause the bladder to overfill and rupture.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The course of treatment truly depends on the severity of the infection, which your vet can diagnose with a few tests. If it is a straightforward bladder infection, the standard treatment is a one or two-week course of antibiotics. Antibiotics may be given for a longer period of time if the infection is more intense. If the infection is suspected to be caused by bladder stones, tumors or other abnormalities, X-rays or ultrasound images of your dog’s abdominal area may be used to determine what is going on.
An immediate surgery may be performed if a blockage is found to prevent further damage from happening. However, if time permits and the diagnosis is bladder stones, a nonsurgical procedure may also be used to pulsate the bladder using sound waves to disintegrate stones along with a potential for a medically prescribed diet.