Reproductive and urinary health: Causes of bloody urine (hematuria) in dogs

April 13, 2012

Dog owners may not be too concerned if the pet is passing bloody urine as this condition normally occurs when the pet is in its normal heat cycle. However, a dog owner must be concerned if the dog that has blood in the urine is a male. Blood in the urine can be a potentially life threatening situation. The dog has to be examined by a vet. As always, prompt diagnosis and treatment for any illness gives the dog a good chance at recovery.

Blood in the urine can be due to a reproductive or urinary health concerns. This condition is technically called hematuria. The effects of hematuria on dogs widely vary. Some dogs would not be affected at all. In some dogs, this condition typically causes abdominal pains, frequent passage of small amounts of urine. Affected dog would be seen straining to urinate. The urine may be pink tinged because it is diluted with blood. A dog that is passing bright red urine can be bleeding heavily. A dog can be weakened if copious amounts of blood are passed with the urine. Slight bleeding may not have visible adverse effects on the dog. Nonetheless, a vet’s attention will be necessary. It would be beneficial for the dog if the owner is knowledgeable about the causes of hematuria.

A fight with another dog, falling from heights or being hit by a vehicle can cause the dog to have bloody urine. Ingestion of poisonous substances will result to internal bleeding and clotting disorders. The dog would vomit and have diarrhea. Frequent urination and blood in the urine are symptoms of poisoning. However, the most common causes of hematuria are conditions associated with the reproductive and urinary health of the pet. The dog’s health can be affected by various infectious agents. Kidney infections and urinary tract infections are common canine disorders. When bacteria managed to access the bladder and the urinary tract, the inflamed tissues may bleed causing the dog to have bloody urine. Bloody urine is a typical clinical symptom of uterine infection in female dogs and prostate problems in male dogs. Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors are other reasons why the dog would have blood in the urine. Stones in the bladder and urethra will create a blockage in the urinary tract. The struvite stones and calcium oxalate stones are types of bladder stones commonly found in dogs. The blockage in the urinary tract will make urinating difficult and very painful. Hematuria can be caused by parasites. Tick transmitted Lyme disease can seriously damage the kidneys causing the blood in the urine.

Hematuria treatment would depend on the underlying cause. The dog that has blood in the urine would have to undergo several tests to diagnose the cause of the condition. The owner would need to submit a fresh sample of the dog’s urine for urinalysis. Bacterial culture will be necessary to identify the cause of infection and to determine the type of antibiotic that must be used. Abdominal x-rays and ultrasound will also be done to further evaluate the causes if other tests conducted appear to be inconclusive.

Hematuria is not a health concern that can be ignored. This condition cannot be treated at home either as in most cases the dog owner would have no idea what causes the dog to pass bloody urine. Antibiotics are administered for urinary tract infection. Surgery may be necessary to remove stones that were not dissolved by medications. Chemotherapy is the common treatment option for prostate cancer and for other tumors that cause the dog to have blood in the urine. Supportive fluid therapy is often administered for dehydrated dogs. Blood in the dog’s urine signifies the seriousness of the underlying problem. The dog must have immediate medical attention.

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