Canine Urinary Tract Infection: Diagnosis and Treatment

Urinary Tract Infection

If not identified and treated in a timely manner, a canine urinary tract infection can endanger your dog's life, especially if the infection spreads from your pet's urinary tract to the rest of the animal's body. But with early detection and proper treatment a UTI doesn't have to be life threatening.

First Sign of Urinary Tract Infection

The first warning sign of a canine urinary tract infection is if your dog seems to be in pain or discomfort while urinating, especially if he is whimpering during urination. Any strain to urinate is a bad sign. If this is happening to your dog, it's time to find out if she is displaying other symptoms of a UTI.

Increase in Frequency of Urination

A dog with a urinary tract infection will feel an increased need to urinate. You may notice your dog repeatedly expressing a need to go back outside to relieve himself. He may also begin to have "accidents", such as urinating indoors. If the frequency of your dog's urination increases, be very sure he doesn't have a canine urinary tract infection before you assume it's a behavior problem. You may also notice your dog nervously pacing around, indoors or outside.

Other Symptoms of UTI

See if your dog's urine contains signs of infection such as blood, crystals, or pus, or if the urine has a foul odor. Notice if he has been more thirsty then usual. Find out if his abdomen is tender, if he seems to have a fever or if he appears lethargic. If these symptoms and behaviors are present, it is time to take your dog to a vet to be tested for a urinary tract infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet will test to rule out stones or obstructions, which can present symptoms similar to those of a UTI. If that is ruled out, your vet will conduct a urinalysis (to do so, the vet will obtain a sample of your dog's urine). If your dog has a urinary tract infection, your vet will perform a bacterial urine culture to confirm the presence of bacteria and identify the kind of bacteria that is causing the infection so the appropriate antibiotic can be prescribed.

Some pet owners don't like antibiotics because they worry about possible side effects. For these pet owners, there are a variety of homeopathic remedies available, along with homemade treatments such as giving the dog citrus juices or apple cider vinegar. These treatments are believed to "neutralize" the bacteria in a dog's urethra.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infection

As with many illnesses, the best treatment of all is prevention. Bathe your dog at least once a week so that bacteria from his urine won't travel to his urethra and create an infection. Keep your dog clean. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean drinking water. Take your dog on frequent walks (at least twice a day if possible) to encourage urination, which prevents bacterial build-up in your dog's unreleased urine.