Bladder infections are a reasonably common reason for a dog needing veterinary care. Such infections are more common in female dogs, because their urethra (the tube carrying urine from the bladder to outside the body) is shorter. This makes it easier for bacteria to ascend into the bladder.
Symptoms of Bladder Infections
One of the first things you may notice is that your dog is squatting to urinate more often. She may not pass much urine each time, and there may be blood in it. She may also lick her genital area a lot.
Severe infections are painful and your dog may be lethargic and off her food. She may have a tummy ache and stretch out frequently to try and get some relief.
Reaching a Diagnosis
The symptoms are very suggestive of a bladder infection but your vet may want to run further tests, depending on what they find when they examine your dog. Some other conditions that can occur in conjunction with a bladder infection include:
- Bladder stones. Stones can form in the bladder and cause irritation and inflammation of the lining of the bladder. There is often a secondary infection present. The stones can often be felt when your veterinarian feels your dog’s tummy, and their presence can be confirmed with an x-ray. The stones will usually need to be removed surgically, and you may be able to change your dog’s diet to reduce the chance of them recurring.
- Bladder tumors. Cancer in the bladder can cause bloody urine and also frequent urination. Reaching a diagnosis often needs an x-ray or ultrasound. The bladder can be filled with a special liquid that shows up any abnormal lumps and bumps on the bladder wall when it is x-rayed. Depending on where it is, the tumor may be able to be removed with surgery, and radiation treatment can also help your dog to recover.
- Diabetes mellitus or Cushing’s Disease. Both of these conditions result in increased glucose in the urine, and this is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Treating the bladder infection will result in short term recovery but unless the underlying disease is managed, the infection will recur.
It’s likely that your vet will want to do at least a urine test to check for glucose, blood cells and crystals before starting any treatment.
Treating Bladder Infections in Dogs
Antibiotics are used to treat bladder infections. Your vet’s first choice is likely to be a drug that kills a wide range of bacteria, and depending on how well your dog responds to treatment, you may need to give her medication for up to 4 weeks. If she doesn’t improve, her urine can be cultured to see exactly what bacteria are causing the problem, and a more specific antibiotic can be prescribed.
It can be helpful to increase your dog’s urine flow to help flush out the bacteria. You can do this by adding more water to her meals.
Bladder infections are quite common and they are very painful. It’s important that you have your dog treated straight away if you notice any symptoms of an infection, so she feels better as soon as possible.
Dr. Susan Wright, DMV is a professional on dog bark collars and dog training collars. Susan has been giving care for pets as a practicing veterinarian for more than 10 years. As an authority on domestic pet care, Susan likes writing articles that help people give the best care for their pets.