The Problem with Pee: Urinary Tract Infections in Pets
The symptoms may sound familiar: accidents in the house, posturing to urinate frequently, and asking to go out more than normal. Urinary tract infection in pets happen, but it isn’t always as simple as us prescribing an antibiotic. Read on to learn why it’s important for us at Schertz Animal Hospital to see your pet when urinary problems arise..Urinary Tract Infections in Pets
Urinary tract infections in pets can happen when bacteria enter the normally sterile environment of the urinary tract. This organ system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. When an infection is present, it is typically in the bladder.
An infection in the bladder leads to inflammation of the lining of the organ. This inflammation is responsible for many of the symptoms we associate with a urinary tract infection, including spasming, bleeding, and discomfort.
While urinary tract infections in pets are not uncommon, they really aren’t normal. Repeated urinary tract infections or infections that do not seem to go away are usually the result of another underlying problem.
When a pet is exhibiting signs of a urinary tract infection, it is important for us to evaluate the situation. This typically involves examining the pet and looking at a urine specimen. The information gathered from these can help us diagnose a UTI, as well as rule out other potential problems.
Your pet’s urine sample houses a wealth of information. When we look at a urinalysis, we are looking for:
- Color and clarity of the sample
- Protein levels
- Presence of glucose
- Microscopic blood
- Ketones, nitrites, bilirubin, and other parameters
- White blood cells
- Cells from the urinary tract
All of these parameters can help us determine what is going on in your pet’s urinary tract. If this information indicates that something other than a simple urinary tract infection is occurring, additional testing may be recommended. This can include blood tests, radiographs, ultrasound, cystoscopy, or even specialized urine tests.
Beyond the UTI
There are lots of medical conditions that may look like a urinary tract infection or lead to UTIs. It is important for us to perform the proper testing to verify that your pet has a UTI, so that we do not miss one of these conditions. Common offenders include:
- Bladder stones (uroliths)
- Bladder inflammation (cystitis)
- Abnormal anatomy
- Urinary sphincter incontinence
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Prostate disease
- Kidney disease
The sooner we diagnose and treat these types of problems, the better our chances of a successful outcome.
Luckily, most urinary tract infections are not serious and respond quickly to antibiotic therapy. Before we prescribe your pet antibiotics, though, it is important for us to have a clear understanding about what is going on. Proper diagnostics ensure that we provide the best care for your pet.