Urinary tract infection
Infection of the urinary system
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Signs may include:
- Frequent urination
- Straining during urination, producing only small amounts of urine
- Changes in urinary habits, such as accidents in the house or urinating in unusual locations
- Blood in the urine or discolored urine
- Strong or foul-smelling urine
- Lethargy or decreased activity level
- Loss of appetite or decreased food intake
- Increased thirst
- Signs of discomfort, such as restlessness or licking of the genital area
Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with a Urinary Tract Infection, including Urinary Bladder Stones, Kidney Disease, or Urinary Cancer. It’s important to be aware that urinary obstruction (blockage) resulting in the complete inability to urinate is a medical emergency. Seek immediate veterinary attention if your pet is unable to produce any urine.
If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your pet's health, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. Early detection and intervention can improve the chances of successful management and prevent complications.
When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to a urinary tract infection, the following may occur:
- Medical history: They will take a detailed medical history, including any abnormal signs and their duration.
- Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities, focusing on the urinary system and overall health.
- Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic testing such as urine and blood tests, imaging (such as X-rays or ultrasound) may be recommended to evaluate the presence of a UTI or the presence of other underlying problems. In some cases, a urine culture may be performed to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection and determine the most effective antibiotic treatment.
- Treatment options: Treatment options for a urinary tract infection can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause. It may involve antibiotics, pain medication, supportive care, and addressing any underlying factors contributing to the infection.
- Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring, a follow-up urinalysis or additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen.
Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.
Here are some things you can do at home to help prevent urinary tract infections and promote urinary health in your pet:
- Provide fresh water: Ensure your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times to encourage proper hydration.
For cats, try offering multiple water sources in different locations and feeding wet or canned food to increase water intake.
- Offer regular bathroom breaks: Avoid situations that require your pet to hold urine for extended periods. Take your pet for regular bathroom breaks to promote regular urination and help prevent urine from sitting in the bladder for extended periods, which can contribute to the development of UTIs.
- Maintain good hygiene: Keep your pet's genital area clean and free from debris to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.
- Provide a balanced diet: Feed your pet a balanced and appropriate diet to support overall health and a strong immune system. Cats may be given a diet formulated to support feline urinary health.
Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on preventing urinary tract infections in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.
Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has a urinary tract infection or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.