Urinary tract infections are one of the most common disorders affecting dogs. It has been estimated that nearly one out of every seven dogs will be affected by this type of problem over the course of their lifetime.
Fortunately, this problem does not occur often in healthy cats. However, other diseases can damage their normal urinary tract defenses and leave feline patients vulnerable to developing urinary tract infections as well.
Signs of trouble
If your pet has a urinary tract infection, the most likely signs include:
- Blood in urine, which may also have a foul odor
- Difficulty urinating
- More frequent urination
- Urination in inappropriate places
Any of these signs are indicative of a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, health problem and should prompt you to call your veterinarian immediately.
Diagnosis and treatment
If a urinary tract infection is suspected, your veterinarian will want to take a sample of your pet’s urine to confirm the diagnosis and determine the specific type of bacteria responsible. The signs of a urinary tract infection are similar to those of a urinary blockage, so it is important to identify the true problem so that the correct treatment can be given.
If a urinary tract infection is diagnosed as the culprit, your veterinarian will prescribe an antimicrobial that is effective against the type of bacteria that caused the problem. It is important that you give the drug exactly as your veterinarian has instructed. Missing a dose or two, or not completing the entire course of the treatment, can have serious consequences and lead to a relapse of the condition.
Once you’ve finished giving the medication to your pet, your veterinarian may take another urine sample to make sure the infection is gone. If not, you will need to continue the medication for a longer period. Recurring infections may indicate problems with urinary stones or other conditions and warrant further testing.
Urinary infections are common but usually not serious if caught early. With prompt treatment, your pet will feel better… fast.
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