Like people, dogs are susceptible to urinary tract infections. Although most cases occur in females, males can also suffer from this problem. This type of infection can also affect any of the structures that form the urinary tract and must be treated quickly to avoid major issues in the future. Let’s check out in-depth about urinary tract infection in dogs: its symptoms and treatment. However, remember that the veterinarian is the only person who can make a real diagnosis of urine infection in dogs, so go to the specialist if you suspect that your dog may be suffering from it.
What Is a Urinary Infection in Dogs?
The urinary infection can happen randomly in any dog. Nevertheless, those who suffer from bad feeding do not have proper hygiene cares, or the immunosuppressed dogs are susceptible to contract it more easily. Now, what exactly is a urinary infection?
The urinary system allows the body to correctly eliminate toxic and disposable substances that the body does not need. This system, formed by the kidneys, the ureters, the urethra and the bladder, allows us to get rid of what we do not need. In this way, the urinary infection can occur in any of these ways, negatively affecting the whole system. For that reason, when we speak of urinary infection in dogs, we refer to a condition developed in one or several points of the animal’s urinary tract.
It is necessary to emphasize that an infection of the urinary tract is not the same as cystitis. Even though, several times, both terms are used as synonyms; cystitis corresponds to the inflammation of the dog’s bladder. It can be developed as a result of a urinary infection. Likewise, the term « cystitis » is used to call the bladder infection, so it is a specific urinary infection type. Therefore, it is not correct to use it to refer to urinary infections in general. For more details, see the article on Cystitis in Dogs – Symptoms and Treatment.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
Urinary tract infections in dogs and any other animal are caused by microorganisms, mainly bacteria, that lodge in the urinary tract. They can lodge in our dog’s organism if this one enters in contact with a sick dog, but they can also be developed by themselves. For example, dogs that do not urinate frequently enough are susceptible to urinary infection since the bacteria that should be evacuated go up to the bladder.
On the other hand, certain diseases may lead to a urine infection in dogs; being these other causes the most common. The appearance of hormonal changes, tumours, kidney stones, excessive humidity or many other ailments can cause these microorganisms’ proliferation.
Finally, it should be noted that in females, there is another factor that can lead to the emergence of urinary infection and is the position they take to urinate. Placing the vulva closer to the ground, the chances that the microorganisms causing these infections will penetrate the urinary tract increase considerably. Also, since the dog’s urinary system is horizontal, the force of gravity is not an aid to eliminate bacteria, as it can occur in women.
The Most Common Bacteria in Urine Infection
The bacteria that most often cause urinary tract infections in dogs is Escherichia coli. However, other genera of bacteria common are Staphylococcus, Proteus, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, Streptococcus, Enterobacter, Chlamydia and Pseudomonas.
Although bacteria are the most common pathogens in these infections, the urinary tract of dogs can also be infected by fungi, mycoplasms, viruses, and parasitic worms.
Urinary tract infections are more common in females because their urethra is shorter and broader. Also, they tend to urinate less frequently than males. These factors facilitate the entry of pathogens and colonization of the urinary bladder. However, although less frequent, males’ infections are more challenging to treat since antibiotics have less access to the places where bacterial colonies are formed, especially when prostatitis has occurred.
When the infection is not treated correctly, there is a risk that the bacteria will pass into the bloodstream, causing sepsis that can be fatal or causing them to infect other organs.