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 within the dog’s system including Urethra, Kidneys, Bladder or the Ureter. Most infections are either caused by bacteria or in a small number of cases, fungus.
Urinary Incontinence in Puppies and Younger Dogs
Canine Ectopic Ureters (EU) is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in dogs that are younger. It is an inherited problem where the connection between the ureters and the bladder (the tube that leads from the Kidneys), is not formed correctly leading to a urinary infection. It is usually seen in females and is rare in males.
This condition is diagnosed by injecting dye into the urethra (leads from the bladder to outside the body) and then using x-rays to analyze the health of the area. Ultrasound and possibly endoscopy may be used as well.
Treatment is to use surgery to correct the deformity. The rate of success is between 50 % – 75%. A new less invasive procedure uses a laser that is inserted through the urethra. It has the same rate of success, although the procedure is somewhat new.
USMI: As mentioned, this is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in dogs. To treat this condition your veterinarian will first try using medications to help your dog strengthen the sphincter muscles. Treatment is effective in most dogs with minor side effects. Therapy will be with oestrogen or newer types of drugs. You can also help your dog achieve some temporary relief with a new natural homoeopathic remedy that was just developed. It is called PetAlive Better-Bladder Control and it is made to temporarily relieve incontinence and strengthen the bladder. If these approaches do not work, then surgery will be required.
Bladder Urine Storage Issues: This condition might look like USMI, but be actually due to stones (see below, also called urolithiasis), paralysis or abnormal cell growth (neoplasia) in the bladder or urethra. Treatment for these conditions may require surgery to remove obstructions or tumours plus medications made for the specific condition.
Canine Infection and Canine Bladder Stones – Treatment Approach for Urinary Incontinence in Dogs
Fungal 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, the fungus usually comes from the kidneys into the urinary system.
Fungal infections are usually caused by some other condition in the body such as diabetes mellitus or if your dog is taking medications such as an antibiotic. Once the diabetes is treated or medications are stopped the fungal infection will go away. If it doesn’t, there are prescription medications that are very effective at eliminating the problem.
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 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.
A condition called overflow incontinence exists when the bladder becomes too full because there are blockages that are keeping the urine from exiting the body.
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.
Bacterial Infection: When bacteria enter the body from outside, it colonises in the urethra and moves up to the bladder and if left untreated the kidneys. It is possible to not show symptoms for a long time, allowing the bacteria to colonise and develop. Antibiotics are effective at fighting infection. To prevent infection and to help supplement the antibiotics, consider giving your dog some cranberry juice mixed with food (they tend to not like the flavour) and possibly a homoeopathic remedy made to strengthen the urinary system such as UTI-Free Formula for Pet Urinary Tract Infections.
Urine is your dog’s first defence against infection. When the urine has the proper PH balance (base/acid mix) and urea (the primary component in urine that is created by the liver), then it works to fight off infection.
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 a problem. X-rays or ultrasound may be used if the formation of 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.
You can help your dog avoid bacterial infections by using some home remedies. These include:
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. Increased urination will help flush bacteria from the bladder.
Bladder Stones: There are two types of stones that are commonly found in dogs, struvite and oxalate. If your dog has struvite stones, your vet may be able to dissolve the stones with a change to a Prescription Diet. Medications and methods for flushing smaller stones out of the body are available. For oxalate stones and stubborn struvite stones, surgery may be required to remove the stones.
Diagnosis and Examination Associated with Dog Urinary Infection
When the body is working properly, it is likely that a urinary tract infection in the dog will not take hold. Your veterinarian will examine the following areas to check to see if a malfunction in any one is a possible cause of the problem:
- Amount (all urine leaves the body at a time or only some)
- Urinary System Itself
- The function of the urethra
- The surface of the urethra
- Canine Bladder Wall
- Bladder pressure
- Problems with the wall
- Bladder contractions
- Urethra length
- Urine Quality
- Proper PH
- Urine concentration
- Urea concentration
- Acid level
- Infection-fighting Antibodies in the body
- Kidney Function
- Blood supply to the Kidneys