Testing Procedures for Canine Urinary Infection

Canine urinary infection occurs in 2% to 3% of all dogs. Usually it is caused by a bacterial infection entering the body via the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder. Bacteria colonize in the urinary tract and can eventually travel up to the bladder creating a bladder infection.

Infection in the urinary tract causes inflammation, which in turn reduces the size of the urethra by making the tube narrower and more difficult to urinate. Canine urination is nature's way of not only eliminating fluid body waste but also a way of keeping the urinary free of bacteria. By not urinating enough, the urine's bacteria killing properties become less effective and could change pH balances in the body which can lead to other problems such as urinary or bladder stones. Urine crystallizes into stones, which attach to other stones causing additional blockages and other urinary problems.

Dog Urinary Infection Symptoms

Some of the following symptoms can be indications of other health problems so a visit to the veterinarian is necessary to determine the cause of the symptoms. A urinary infection can lead to bladder stones, kidney problems, problems with the bladder wall or even a bacterial infection in the blood.

The following is a list of symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty urinating or straining to urinate
  • Urine leakage
  • Urinating in unacceptable places
  • Urine odor
  • Licking private area
  • Pain when urinating
  • Increased thirst
  • Skin issues in the vaginal area
  • Blood in the urine
  • Behavioral problems
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of urine control (incontinence)

These types of symptoms occur in 64% of younger dogs that have a urinary infection.

The causes for these symptoms include the following:

  • Infection in the urethra causing inflammation (urethritis)
  • Abnormal cell growth in the urethra (neoplasia)
  • Bladder that is displaced
  • Abnormal cell growth at the neck of the bladder (bladder neck neoplasia)
  • Prostate disease
  • Nervous system problems
  • Pressure on the bladder caused by abnormal cell growths or tumors
  • Pressure on the urethra caused by abnormal cell growths or tumors
  • Injury to the urethra
  • Mineral buildup in the urethra (urethral calculus)
  • Muscle issues (dyssynergia)

Testing Procedures For Canine Urinary Infection

A physical examination, a urine culture using a catheter, a sensitivity test and urinalysis will determine the type of bacteria causing the infection, pH level, the level of bacteria present and whether blood or stone remnants are present. This will determine the type of antibiotics needed. Common antibiotics used for treatment of urinary infections are fluroquinolones and amoxicilin, which will be taken for 14 days. Treatment for an infection which has spread to the kidneys or prostate will last 30 days. Retesting will determine is the infection has been eradicated. For dogs with canine diabetes, additional treatment with the drug Amphotericin B may be needed to cure the infection; however, if antibiotics do not cure the infection within several weeks, then the infection may be due to a physical cause, such as prostate gland problems.

Prevention is the best defense for a urinary infection. Dogs should be provided with ample fresh water and frequent walks to induce urination.