Urinary: UTI Treatment
A urinary infection (UTI) is able to take hold when your dog's urinary system is either out of balance or there is a problem with a specific part of the system including:
- Urethra: carries urine from the bladder to the outside
- Bladder: holds the urine inside the dog
- Ureters: Passes urine from kidney to bladder
Most infections are either caused by bacteria or in a small number of cases, fungus.
Bacterial Canine Urinary Infection
Bacteria can told hold anywhere in the urinary tract and cause a dog urinary infection. Sometimes the infection will not produce any noticeable symptoms. Bacteria usually enters the body from the area where your dog urinates.
Urine is your dog's first defense against infection. When the urine has the proper PH balance (base/acid mix) and urea (primary component in urine that is created by the liver), then it works to fight off infection.
To determine if you dog has an infection your veterinarian will look for symptoms that are associated with problem urination such as:
- Frequency of Urination
- Strength of the urine stream
- Blood in the Urine (could be a sign that infection spread to kidneys)
- Urine Leaking at night
- Urination in the house
Your veterinarian will diagnose the problem by taking a urine sample in the office by using a catheter. Urine collected by holding a cup under your dog may not provide a clean sample. Urinalysis, the name for the test, will show if bacteria is present and if there is a large concentration of crystals, the building blocks of bladder stones.
There are several types of bacteria that can cause the problem. X-rays or ultrasound may be used if the formation of a stone is suspected in the upper tract. To view the lower tract an endoscopy, a video camera that is at the end of a thin tube is used.
A stone is a collection of crystals that formed into an object that can get large enough to block a urinary passage. Another name for stones is urolith. Your veterinarian will try and determine if the problem is in the lower or upper urinary tract.
To treat a canine urinary infection your veterinarian will rely on antibiotics for a period up to 14 days and then test 7 days later to see if the infection is gone. Longer treatment may be needed for stubborn infections.
If your dog gets more than 3 infections in a year, that more aggressive treatment may be needed using a process called antimicrobial therapy.
You can help your dog avoid bacterial infections by using some home remedies. These include:
Cranberry Juice: this type of juice has properties which improve the acid level in the urine. The juice also has properties which help to protect the bladder.
Walks: Talk your dog out for 2 additional walks each day. Dogs will increase the amount they urinate and feel they need to drink just by being outside. The urine flushes the urinary tract.
Homeopathic Remedies: Certain herbs such as Berberis vulgaris is known to support the urinary tract and the immune system. Others help to maintain a the correct PH in the urine. One product made for this purpose and is worth considering is UTI Free.
Fungal Dog Urinary Infection
In rare cases, a fungus will be the cause of your dog's problem, usually in the lower urinary tract. The fungus is called Candida spp. Unlike bacteria which enters from outside the body, fungus usually comes from the kidneys into the urinary system.
Other problems are often present including diabetes mellitus. The problem could have also been caused by recent medical procedures such as the insertion of a catheter into the urinary tract. Medications such as antibiotics, chemotherapy agents and steroids can also be the cause. Your veterinarian will also closely examine the lower urinary tract.
Diagnosis of the dog urinary infection is done with a simple yeast test. Often if the underlying problem is correct such as treatment for diabetes or the end of therapy with antibiotics, the problem will resolve itself. If it doesn't then a medication can be prescribed using the drug fluconazole. Other drug choices are ketoconazole and itraconazole, although these might not be as effective. A new medication called amphotericin B is showing promise in people and may become common for canine care.
Treatment for dog urinary infection lasts for 2 to
4 weeks. After treatment your dog will be tested to make sure the
infection is gone.