You may have heard “UTI” before, but do you know what it actually means? UTI, also referred to as Urinary Tract Infection, affects both humans and animals, so it is not uncommon for your dog or cat to develop a UTI. UTIs are bacterial infections that can be found in any part of the urinary tract, but in most cases will be found in the bladder. This is known as bacterial cystitis. Bacterial cystitis is a fancy word for saying “the inflammation of the urinary bladder” or “bladder infection.” These infections are potentially dangerous and painful for your pets but are easily treated if found in the early stages. If your pet starts to show severe symptoms of UTIs, it can lead to more serious results; this includes bladder cancer, kidney diseases, prostate, etc.
Symptoms of UTI in Dogs and Cats are…
If your furry friend reveals any unusual or alarming symptoms of UTI, it might be an indication of a more serious matter. Some of the most obvious signs include unusual amounts of urine, excessive licking around the urinary tract, increased water intake, behavioral issues, straining or whining during urination, and/or lethargy. Vital signs include bloody urine, UTIs that are resistant to treatments, abdominal pain, bladder rupture, or even difficulty urinating. All of these can be indications of a urinary tract disease or even symptoms of bladder cancer in the advanced stages. Consult a veterinarian if your friend experiences any of these issues.
What Causes a UTI in My Pet?
Generally, UTIs in pets are caused by bacteria or organisms entering their bladder opening. This bacteria develops when the urethral area is contaminated with feces or dust particles. While there are many other bacteria involved, one of the most common organisms that cause such infections is Escherichia coli (which are bacteria found in feces). You may also want to check if your animal is poorly hydrated because this can lead to a lack of nutrients which causes a weakened immune system. This can result in a higher chance of your dog or cat getting a UTI.
What Happens if I Leave a UTI Untreated?
If you choose to leave your pet’s UTI untreated, it can lead to more serious consequences like the development of urinary stones, prostate disease, urinary tract disease, and even kidney failure. This could eventually cause a compounding snowball effect--bladder stones and bladder inflammation can trigger bacterial infections and ultimately worsen kidney function. Bladder stones can also clog the urethra, preventing your dog from practicing proper urination habits thereby leading to a bladder infection.
Diagnosis of UTI?
Some common early warning signs for UTIs in dogs are blood in urine and cloudy urine. If you see these symptoms, it is highly advised to get a diagnosis. A vet will take a urine sample from your pet by inserting a needle directly into the bladder and send it in to a lab for testing. Testing urine collected directly from the bladder helps prevent contamination.
Prevention of UTI?
Avoiding urinary tract infections in the first place will help your pet avoid discomfort and stay healthy. Make sure that your dog drinks enough fresh water each day. Frequent urination is also extremely important to flush out any potential toxins in the body. If you suspect that your pet may have a UTI, contact your vet, or TelePAWS for a diagnosis.
One of our TelePAWS Vets will gladly see your pet. Make an appointment and our Vet will contact you and your pet wherever you are with the use of your computer or mobile device (telephone, tablet, etc.).