Bladder Infections In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

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Bladder infections in dogs happen when bacteria or other microbes get in the bladder, causing a variety of symptoms mostly associated with urination. Female dogs are more likely to contract bladder infections, though any canine can get them. The disease causes irritation to the bladder, which is normally sterile, and if left untreated, it can cause other, more serious complications. If you notice the signs of a bladder infection in your dog, it is important to consult your veterinarian. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for bladder infections in dogs.

Symptoms Of Bladder Infections In Dogs

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The most common symptom of bladder infections in dogs is the frequent urge to urinate, even when there is little or no urine present. This is caused by irritation to the walls of the bladder brought on by the infection. Here are some other common symptoms associated with bladder infections in dogs.

  • Passing small amounts of urine tinged with blood
  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Frequent squatting or straining to urinate
  • Pain when urinating, indicated by shivering, whimpering, or aches
  • Accidents in the house or places your dog doesn’t normally urinate
  • Leaking urine while asleep, sometimes when awake
  • Licking the genital area
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Formation of bladder stones

Bladder stones may block the flow of urine, which is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If your dog has a swollen or painful abdomen and is unable to pass urine at all, get to an emergency veterinarian. It is important to know that these symptoms can be signs of a larger problem, including injury, malignant or benign tumors, prostate disease, and more. This is why it is important to see your veterinarian to rule out these causes.

Causes Of Bladder Infections In Dogs

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Bladder infections are often caused by bacteria, usually E. coli or Staph, that can be transferred through fecal matter from the anus or other bacteria from the genitals. Diarrhea can make a bladder infection even more likely, and excessive licking can transfer germs to the urethra and, subsequently, the bladder.

One of the reasons male dogs get bladder infections less frequently is because the anus is farther from the urethra where bacteria can migrate to the bladder. If your dog tends to get messy during defecation, they are more likely to contract a bladder infection, which is why you should make sure your dog stays reasonably clean.

Diabetes increases the risk of bladder infections, as well as certain medications that suppress the body’s immune system like corticosteroids. Some antibiotics may also increase the risk of infection.

Treatments For Bladder Infections In Dogs

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Treatments for bladder infections typically include a round of antibiotics for a week or two to fight off the bacteria causing the irritation. Vets may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation, and they may prescribe pain medication if your dog experiences discomfort.

There are also natural remedies, such as cranberry supplements, which may come with fewer side effects, but you should always ask your veterinarian before administering any kind of treatment.

In the case of bladder stones, your veterinarian prescribe a change in diet that can change the chemicals in your dog’s urine to help the stones dissolve. This is not always effective, and your vet may want to perform surgery to remove the stones. Another technique involves using a probe through the urethra that emits sound waves to crush stones, then flushing them out. This usually requires a specialist.

Has your dog ever had a bladder infection? What treatments did you find effective? Let us know in the comments below!