Blood in Dog Urine

"Blood in dog urine can be caused by a number of factors. These urinary tract conditions may be infectious, non-infectious or contagious. Bacterial, viral and fungal infections, parasites, calculi, poisoning, congenital problems(any medical condition that is present at birth), tumors and drug reactions may cause the passing of dog urine blood. It is a symptom associated with most urinary diseases. Other symptoms which are just as difficult, are reduced and frequent urination and abdominal pain; which  are common symptoms in all conditions.  The appearance and consistency of blood in dogs urine can help in obtaining a confirmatory diagnosis.  Careful clinical examination, urinalysis and the use of advanced laboratory procedures, can confirm the cause. Once the cause is identified, it should be treated, preferably along with nutritional, nursing and supportive therapies."

Causes of Blood in Dog Urine:

  • Infections: Infections are one of the most common causes of dog urine blood; these infections may be bacterial, viral (Leptospirosis) or fungal. Cystitis, pyelonephritis and nephritis are some common examples of infections.

    Bacterial and viral infections may occur, due to contamination and microbes that pass upward in the urinary tract, through the urethra and which then infect any part of the urinary tract. Organs of the lower urinary tract, such as the urethra, bladder and ureter are more susceptible.

    Kidneys often become infected for a generalized reason, such as ingestion of a pathogen (disease) through food or through respiratory inhalation. Other infections, such as those due to fungus (aspergillosis) and in the prostate gland, may also result in the passing of blood in a dog’s urine.

    Blood passed through dog urine, due to infections, are usually mixed with mucous. Blood may pass at the end of the urine stream; which causes severe pain while urinating. Blood in such cases, appears dark and cloudy.

  • Calculi or Stones: Calculi or stones in the kidney, bladder or ureter is referred to as a non-infectious type of disease; which can cause blood in dog urine as a symptom. These may occur either due to congenital problems or due to a nutritional disorder.

    Calculi or stones cause injury in the urinary tract; which can lead to hemorrhages and cause blood to pass through the dog’s urine. Other symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain and difficulty urinating due to obstruction in the tract, are major signs.

    Blood may appear fresh when thoroughly mixed with urine with the appearance of the urine taking on a pink to reddish color.

  • Traumas and Injuries: Physical trauma, accidents and internal injuries, due to any reason, can cause blood flow in dog urine.
  • Parasites: Parasites are a Less common cause of blood in dog urine, but some parasites and parasite borne diseases can result in the presence of blood. Ehrlichiosis and Rocky mountain fever are parasitic diseases, caused by tick bites. A recently discovered parasitic disease, Capillaria infection, caused by Capillaria pica is a parasitic disease; which occurs when a dog ingests earthworms. This too can cause the presence of blood in the urine.
  • Congenital Problems: Calculi or stones may be a congenital problem, but it is mostly due to nutritional issues. Congenital disorders of blood coagulation in some breeds, such as in the Doberman breed, can lead to blood in the urine; as blood cells may not comply with re-absorptive mechanisms, thus the blood passes into the urine.
  • Drug Reactions: There are several vaccines and drugs; which have side effects, related to blood cell lysis (refers tot the death of a cell, by the breaking of the cellular membrane) and thrombocytopenia (Platelet cell deficiency) which results in the passing of blood cells which are excreted through the urinary tract.

Diagnosis of Blood in Dog Urine:

Blood passed through the urine is never represented as fresh red blood separate from the urine; it passes in a mixture with urine; as a major part of urine is water. During an infection, urine may appear cloudy and dark, due to the combination of mucous and blood. Similarly, pink to reddish urine; should be noted, in case of calculi (stones) or internal injuries.

In the case of congenital problems, drug reactions and poisoning, urine may contain damaged and immature blood cells; which appear as bright red crystals, which are grouped and confirmed only through laboratory testing.

Urinalysis and advanced laboratory procedures can also help in diagnosing the cause. These studies are usually based upon, the contents and biochemistry of the urine.

Treatment of Blood in Dog Urine:

Once the cause of the presence of blood is known, it should be treated based on the cause. Infections may be treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Calculi or stones, tumors and injuries on the other hand, may require surgery; which may be minor or major depending upon the severity. Most parasitic diseases are usually self-resolving, but require supportive therapy.

Dogs with congenital problems like a blood component deficiency, such as that of platelets and blood cell lysis, may require permanent administration of tonics and ferrous oxide therapies.

Nutrition is one of the important components of treatment for affected dogs. These dogs should be given a lot of water to drink; which should be clean and filtered. Fats should be reduced in food, and mineral traces, through the prescription of a veterinarian, should be added.


The Merck Veterinary Manual

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