Diagnosing a Bladder Problem in Dogs

A canine bladder problem can become serious if left untreated. You should therefore conduct a vet check at the earliest possible time if your pet displays any symptoms of a bladder problem.

 Types of Bladder Problems Include:

Symptoms of Bladder Problems

If you observe symptoms such as frequent urination in unusual places, blood in the urine, straining and pain while passing urine, incontinence or loss of appetite, you must seek medical care promptly so that the problem can be identified and treated.

Causes of Canine Bladder Problems

Bladder problems in dogs can be caused due to bacterial infections. These bladder problems can affect dogs of both sexes and all ages. Some dogs are genetically predisposed to the formation of crystals, while others may develop bladder problems associated with age, diabetes, inflammation of the prostate gland, bladder cancer, kidney disease or corticosteroid therapy. Female dogs that have been spayed also experience bladder problems such as incontinence.

Diagnosis of Bladder Problems in Dogs

The vet will conduct a physical examination and evaluate the medical history of your pet before making a diagnosis. The vet will also examine the dog's bladder for tenderness, the presence of stones or unusual firmness. A urine analysis test will be conducted to determine the presence of bacteria, sugar, blood, white blood cells or plasma. The vet will check the pH balance of the urine and the urine concentration. To get a sample of urine, a catheter is usually injected through the urethra into the dog's bladder. If the catheter can't be injected into a male dog's penis, it indicates the presence of bladder stones. Alternatively, a needle is injected directly into the bladder to get a sample of urine. Additional tests such as an ultrasound or X-rays of the bladder area might be needed. X-rays can help identify the presence of bladder stones or any genetic abnormalities in the anatomy of the urinary tract.

Early Detection

If detected early, bladder problems can be treated easily with a diet change, particularly if the problem is due to crystal formation. However, if the problem is due to an infection, a course of antibiotic medications will be prescribed. Oral antibiotics are usually given for a period of two weeks and care should be taken to ensure that the correct strength of antibiotics are administered for the correct duration, in order to prevent the risk of recurrence. Recurrent infection is treated with antibiotics administered daily, for a period of six months. Stones can also be removed by surgery, ultrasound or through diet modification. Medications can also help break down the stones. Urinary incontinence can be treated by eliminating the infection with antibiotics, and if required, surgery or hormone therapy.

Early detection of a bladder problem in your dog can help prevent complications. If there is a delay in the correct diagnosis and treatment of the problem, there is enough time for the formation of complications that can result in costly treatments and stress for yourself and your pet.