Urinary Tract Infection

Information on the causes and symptoms of infections of the kidneys and urinary tract in cats and dogs.

cats and dogs with urinary tract infections

Select a Topic

  1. What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
  2. What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
  3. Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections
  4. Help for Urinary Tract Infections
  5. More Information on Urinary Tract Infections

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
  • Fever
  • 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.

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

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