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Can dogs get bladder infections?

Updated on May 1, 2012

Don’t punish your dog if it has been dribbling urine on your carpet or making puddles on the floor. These accidents go with the territory of having a dog. No matter how well you have trained the pet to use the doggie door and to eliminate in the designated place there will always be a time when the dog will have an accident inside the house. These accidents can be the dog’s way of gaining your attention…or it can be a symptom of a medical concern. The wetting and the dribbling can be symptom of bladder infection. Bladder infections are health concerns not only of humans but of dogs as well. 

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What is bladder infection?

The urinary bladder of a dog is a sac-like organ that stores the urine. Normally, urine is sterile and has an antibacterial properties but an underlying medical concern can interfere with body’s ability to prevent infection. In the case of bladder infection, bacteria travel through the urethra and enter the bladder. The bacteria will reproduce and cause the inflammation of lining of the abdominal walls.  Once inflamed, the bladder’s ability to hold urine will be weakened causing painful frequent urination. Bladder infection is more common in female dogs as the shorter and wider urethra facilitates the entrance of bacteria into the bladder. Bladder infection is common occurrence in old dogs, non-neutered male dogs and in spayed female dogs.

Treatment

A vet would normally prescribe a 14 day antibiotic course for a dog that has a bladder infection. Bladder infection though is recurring. A long term antibiotic therapy is oftentimes necessary. There may be a need to culture the urine to be able to specify the kind of bacteria so that the most suitable antibiotic will be prescribed.

Causes of bladder infection

Bladder infection is mainly caused by the buildup of bacteria in the bladder. Poor quality of food is believed to contribute to the inflammation of the urinary tract.  Excessive containment of urination can also cause bladder infection. This is especially true with dogs that are contained for 2 to 3 hours without being provided with opportunities to empty their bladder. Diabetes, kidney diseases and other health concerns that interfere with the defense functions of the body can aggravate the factors that cause bladder infection.

Symptoms of bladder infection

The most common symptom of bladder infection is the frequency and the amount of urinary output of the dog. The inflamed bladder will urge the dog to urinate more frequently but because the bladder is incapable of storing large amount of urine, only a small amount will be excreted. Urination will be painful as the dog will strain to empty the bladder. The bloody urine will be foul smelling. The dog may be seen constantly licking the genital area. A dog with bladder infection will be lethargic, have fever and would have a very poor appetite.

Prevention

As mentioned, bladder infection is a recurring infection. Thus a caring owner should not only treat the infection but should also make measures to prevent further infection. Treatment must also be geared towards improving the immune system of the pet.

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

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