Is your dog or cat peeing where she shouldn’t be? She might have a urinary tract infection. Learn the signs, and see how we can help!
Signs of a Urinary Tract infection
One of the most common signs of a urinary tract infection in dogs and cats is inappropriate urination. Your dog – who used to be perfectly house broken – may start having accidents in the house. Or your cat might urinate just outside the litter box, or even in a completely different place. Inappropriate urination is usually a sign that something is wrong, so call us or come in so we can help figure out what is going on.
Other signs of a urinary tract infection in dogs and cats are similar to signs of a urinary tract infection in people. Most pets with urinary tract infections will feel the urge to urinate more often, but will only urinate small amounts instead of a normal volume. Your dog or cat might also appear to be painful while she is urinating. You may notice that the urine is a different color than normal (orange to red), or it might have a different smell than normal. Pets with a severe urinary tract infection may have a fever, have a decreased appetite, or be lethargic (tired). You could also see any of these signs that your dog or cat may be sick.
If your dog or cat is straining to urinate, this is an emergency. If they are not able to pass any urine at all, they could become very sick and even die. This is not something that can wait overnight – call us, your regular veterinarian, or your local emergency clinic right away.
How is a Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed?
Your dog or cat will need to be examined by a veterinarian to determine if she has a urinary tract infection. We will perform a physical examination, test a urine sample, and possibly do blood tests. A urinary tract infection is diagnosed with a combination of signs and abnormal results on a urine test. A dog or cat with a urinary tract infection will have extra white blood cells and red blood cells in her urine as well as bacteria.
How is a Urinary Tract Infection Treated?
Urinary tract infections must be treated with antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria causing the infection. Many times, we will culture your pet’s urine to determine which bacteria are causing the infection. The culture will also tell us which antibiotics are most likely to work against the bacteria. Pets with urinary tract infections often need to be treated with antibiotics for 2 weeks or longer, to be sure all the bacteria have been killed.
Some dogs and cats need to be switched to a prescription diet to manage urinary tract infections. Some diets can cause the pH of the urine to change, which can make your pet more susceptible to urinary tract infections. A prescription diet can help to manage the pH of your pet’s urine, which will help stop urinary tract infections.
If your dog or cat has recurrent urinary tract infections, it could be an indication of other problems. Pets with diabetes, bladder stones, or other medical problems are more prone to developing urinary tract infections. Intact male pets can have prostate problems that appear to be urinary tract infections at first. If your dog or cat has multiple urinary tract infections, we will recommend further testing to rule out underlying medical conditions.
If you think your dog or cat is having trouble urinating, or is urinating more frequently than normal, it could be the sign of a urinary tract infection. Call us or come in for a physical examination and a urine test to determine what is causing your pet’s problems. We can help your pet feel better!