What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
Urinary tract infections in pets occurs frequently causing urination to be extremely painful and uncomfortable. These infections are caused by bacteria that enter the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the exterior of the body through which urine flows), bladder or any part of the urinary tract.
Bladder stones, some underlying diseases, overuse of medications, bladder tumors or cancer or abnormalities of the urinary tract can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections affect both dogs and cats, although they tend to be more common in cats.
Female cats and dogs experience more episodes of urinary tract infections because the urethra is shorter and broader than in males. If left untreated urinary tract infections can lead to more serious health complications such as kidney infections.
Symptoms and signs
The common symptoms and signs of urinary tract infections include:
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating with pain
- Licking of the genitals
- Cloudy or blood urine
- Urinating without passing much urine – only drops
- Urinating in odd places
- Loss of appetite
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial infections from the urethra entering the bladder. Bladder stones, some underlying diseases, overuse of medications, bladder tumors or cancer or abnormalities of the urinary tract can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections
The diagnosis of urinary tract infections are based on the symptoms, medical history and a physical examination. A urine test will be performed to check for a high ph balance, the presence of bacteria, crystals, red and white blood cells. Additional tests such as a urine culture, blood tests, x-rays and ultrasound may be performed if recurring infection occur or to determine the cause of underlying diseases or abnormalities.
Help for Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections in pets are usually treated with a course of antibiotics. Frequent treatment of antibiotics can however weaken the immune system and cause recurring infections. In more severe cases or with persistent urinary tract infections, surgery or catheterization may be recommended by your vet.
Proper nutrition that contains all the essential nutrients, providing clean, fresh water, good hygiene, regular exercise and encouraging your pet to urinate can make a significant different to your pet’s urinary health.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies have proven to be highly effective in treating the symptoms and causes of urinary tract and bladder infections in humans as well as pets. These natural remedies are gentle to use without the negative side effects of conventional medications such as antibiotics.
Two well known herbs known as Arctostaphylos uva ursi and Berberis vulgaris contain antiseptic and antibacterial properties which are excellent for the treatment of urinary tract infections, reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system. Homeopathic ingredients such as Cantharis and Staphysagris provide symptomatic relief for a variety of urinary problems such as cystitis.
More Information on Urinary Tract Infection
There are several things that you do to reduce the chance of your pet
developing urinary tract infections and these include:
- Make sure that your dog or cat has toilet breaks every few hours and avoid letting them hold urine in too long
- Give your pet plenty of fresh, clean water daily to flush out unwanted toxins and avoid dehydration
- Feed your pet a high quality, low ph or natural diet without preservatives, colorants or additives to boost the immune system
- Ensure good hygiene by bathing your pet regularly, in particular female pets as their urethra is very short and as a result bacteria infects the bladder very quickly
- Ensure that your pet gets adequate exercise to stimulate the bladder
- Keep more than one litter box in your home for your cat and make sure that they are always clean