Bladder stones, incontinence, crystal stones in the urine, cancer, or bacterial infections are just some of the many problems that can affect a dog’s lower urinary system. Obstruction of the urethra can also occur, which affects the tube that allows urine to pass from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Dogs with diabetes and older female dogs are especially prone to urinary tract problems. In some older dogs (either male or female) there are different types of bladder stones that can form in specific breeds and under certain circumstances.
What Causes Urinary Tract Problems in Dogs?
• Prostate disease
• Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
• Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder/hormonal issue
• Spinal cord abnormalities
• Congenital abnormality
• Bladder inflammation or infection
What Are the Health Conditions Which Might Lead to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?
For dogs that are over seven years of age, the most common lower urinary tract disease they experience is incontinence related to a weak urinary sphincter muscle, which causes urine to “leak” out—bacterial infections are also common. Endocrine diseases like diabetes mellitus and adrenal disease can predispose dogs to bacterial infection of their lower urinary tracts.
What Are the Symptoms of Urinary Tract Problems in Dogs?
• Bloody or cloudy urine
• Strong odor to the urine
• Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
• Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine
• Increased amount and/or frequency of urination
• Loss of bladder control which results in dribbling urine
• Constant licking of urinary opening
• Soiling in inappropriate places
• Increased water consumption
• Changes in appetite
• Weight loss
• Severe back pain
How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Diagnosed?
To diagnose urinary tract problems, the veterinarian will start with a physical examination which will include checking the kidneys and the bladder, as well as performing a urinalysis. Additional services may include a urine culture, blood work, ultrasound or radiographs.
What Are Treatment Options for Urinary Tract Problems?
Depending on how the veterinarian diagnoses your dog, the following treatment options may be recommended:
• Dietary changes
• Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy
• Increase in water intake
• Urinary acidifiers or alkalinizers
• Surgery or other procedures to remove bladder stones or tumor
• Medications or supplements
• Surgery to correct congenital abnormality
• Treatment of underlying conditions that is contributing to urinary problems (e.g. diabetes mellitus)
At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from urinary tract problems or if you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact us at our following locations: