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Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs

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ASPCA logoThere are many problems that can affect a dog’s lower urinary system. Incontinence, bladder stones or crystals in the urine, bacterial infections, cancer, trauma or even obstruction of the urethra, the tube that allows urine to pass from the bladder to the outside of the body, can occur.

What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Dogs?

  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder/hormonal issue
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Spinal cord abnormalities
  • Congenital abnormality
  • Prostate disease

 

What Health Conditions Might Lead to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

The most common lower urinary tract disease in dogs over seven years of age is incontinence related to a weak urinary sphincter muscle, allowing urine to “leak” out. Bacterial infections are also common. Endocrine diseases such as adrenal disease and diabetes mellitus can predispose dogs to bacterial infection of the lower urinary tract.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes are especially prone to urinary tract problems. There are different types of bladder stones that have a tendency to form under different conditions-some in older dogs, some in either males or females, and some in specific breeds under certain circumstances.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Urniary Tract Problems?

  • The following signs may indicate that your dog is having trouble with his urinary tract:
  • Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Loss of bladder control, dribbling urine
  • Increased amount and/or frequency of urination
  • Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine
  • Soiling in inappropriate places
  • Constant licking of urinary opening
  • Strong odor to the urine
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Severe back pain
  • Increased water consumption

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

Please see your veterinarian for immediate medical attention, especially if your dog is straining to urinate or crying out in pain. This could be a medical emergency!

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