Can dogs get bladder infections?

April 13, 2012

Dogs make the quality of our lives so much better. Every dog lover would know how loyal, affectionate and protective these animals are. The decision to take one home though is a big responsibility. Remember, the dog would depend on you not only for its basic needs. Food, water, shelter and the care that will maintain the health of the pet is necessary. In spite of the care given by a responsible dog owner, canine health concerns still occur. One of these health problems is bladder infections. Yes, bladder infection is not only common in humans but in dogs too. Just as with any other health concerns, immediate and proper treatment can save the life of the dog. Although considered to be of least importance when it comes to the health of the dog, paying enormous veterinary bills can be prevented if the symptoms of the infection are spotted early on and treatment is administered at once.

Bladder infection is common in dogs. About 3% of our canine friends can have this type of infection in their lifetime. Occurrence of bladder infection is higher in female dogs because the shorter and wider urethra makes it easier for bacteria to enter the dog’s system. Urine is stored in the urinary bladder. Muscles in this sac-like organ contracts to allow urine to pass through the urethra. The sphincter, another muscle that surrounds the urethra acts as a gate valve as it closes the urethra to stem the flow of urine until it is again time to go. Urine is supposed to be sterile. Urine should not be contaminated with microorganisms and bacteria. However when bacteria travel into the dog’s bladder through the urethra, the bacteria will thrive and reproduce. The dog will develop an infection that causes the swelling and the contraction of the muscles in the walls of the urinary bladder. Bladder infection is typically caused by bacteria build up in the bladder. However, this health concern can also be due to improper hydration and poor quality of dog food that can promote the inflammation of the urinary tract. A dog that was trained to eliminate in a specified area and not given the chance to do so can developed urinary tract infection

The most common symptom of bladder infection is the urinary output of the pet. Dogs with bladder infection will be in pain as the bladder will be tender. Dogs will feel the need to pass urine more frequently. The inflammation of the bladder prevents it from stretching to hold urine so that the dog would have the urge to empty the bladder more often than usual. The dog would commonly strain to urinate but would only be able to pass small amount of urine that is oftentimes cloudy or tinged with blood. Urine may be foul smelling as well. Although less common, lethargy and fever are symptoms of the infection too.

Symptoms of bladder infection can also be the symptoms of other diseases. A vet’s consult would be necessary for the right diagnosis. Bladder infection is not really a fatal disease but if prompt and accurate treatment is not administered, the dog’s ability to urinate can completely cease if the infection causes the development of crystals or stones that will create a blockage. This will result to dehydration; acidosis and uremic poisoning that can lead to the death of the pet.

Antibiotics are commonly administered to treat a dog with bladder infection. Amoxicillin or cephalexin is antibiotic treatments that are usually given for ten days. Cranberry juice and other foods that will increase the acid in the dog’s urine will help prevent the reproduction of bacteria in the lining of the bladder and aid in flushing out the bacteria from the dog’s urinary tract.

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