Canine Urinary Tract Infection

Dysuria, frequency, urgency, hematuria or lumbar pain suggests kidney diseases such as urolithiasis (formation of urinary calculi or mineral salt "pebbles"), abnormal growth in the bladder (neoplasm), kidney (renal) masses or urinary obstruction. (Urolithiasis is most common in these breeds: Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Pug, Bulldog, Welsh Corgi, Basset Hound, Beagle and Terrier.)

Of course, some of these clinical signs are also associated with other diseases, so a veterinarian's task is to differentiate the specific cause of the dog's clinical condition from other possible causes.

Anatomy of the Canine Urinary Tract:
The urinary system eliminates waste by-products and excess water from the body. Kidneys, which weigh about 42.5 to 56.7 grams, purify the blood through a filtration process.

The canine urinary tract has upper (proximal) and lower (distal) portions. The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and ureters, tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The lower urinary tract consists of the bladder and the urethra, which is surrounded by the prostate gland in males.

The urinary tract is normally sterile except for the distal urethra. Pathogens usually invade by ascending the tract, entering through the urethra and spreading proximally.*

Diagnosing Canine Urinary Tract Infections

Making a differential diagnosis is the process of determining the specific cause of a dog's urinary tract infection (UTI) in preparation for treatment. A thorough evaluation should include questions about the dog's history.

  • What breed is the dog?
  • How old is the dog?
  • How often does it urinate?
  • How much urine is produced?
  • Anything unusual about the appearance or odor of the urine?
  • Is the dog excessively thirsty?
  • Has the dog broken house-training?
  • When were the symptoms first noticed?
  • Has the dog been treated for previous urinary tract infections?
  • When and how?
  • What has the dog been eating?

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will examine the dog carefully, giving special attention to the organs of the upper and lower urinary tract.

  • The bladder should be felt, or palpated.
  • The external genitalia should be examined.
  • A rectal examination allows evaluation of the distal urethra in both sexes and of the prostate in male dogs.
  • If the dog is unable to control urination (incontinent), a neurologic exam should also be conducted.

Upper UTI often affects kidney function. Special radiographic techniques can identify renal scarring caused by pyelonephritis, which should be treated differently than other UTI. Renal calculi act as foreign bodies and perpetuate infection. Magnesium ammonium phosphate calculi also grow as a result of infection and can injure the kidneys.

Lower UTI is often associated with urinary tract obstruction, urolithiasis and congenital anomalies of the lower urinary tract and trauma. Although treating lower UTI is important for the animal's continued health, these infections may have little effect on kidney function.

Treating Canine UTI

For more information on treating canine UTI, visit your veterinarian.

Disclaimer: Zoetis takes no responsibility for any claims that may arise from information contained in this information sheet. Individual situations may vary from location to location and it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before any management or treatment decisions are implemented.

Vrywaring: Zoetis neem geen verantwoordelikheid vir enige eise wat mag voortspruit uit inligting vervat in hierdie inligtingsdokument. Individuele situasies varieer van plek tot plek en dit word voorgestel dat u eers u veearts kontak alvorens enige bestuurs- of behandelingsbesluite geïmplementeer word.