Urinary tract infections in dogs and and cats are relatively common problems; especially for dogs.  The good news is that if a UTI is caught early enough, it can be successfully treated. 

With a dog urinary tract infection, you may notice the following symptoms:

•    Frequent urination
•    Straining, pain or difficulty urinating
•    Blood in the urine
•    Foul smelling urine
•    Urination in inappropriate places
•    Tender lower abdomen (in the area of the bladder)
•    Fever
•    Lethargy

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should bring your dog to the vet for an examination.  The above symptoms can also indicate a more severe problem such as urinary stones or obstructions which is why it’s important to see a veterinarian right away.  UTIs are more likely to affect certain dogs than others—for example, older dogs that experience incontinence are more likely to contract an infection. 

Cats aren’t as likely to come down with urinary tract infections; however, inflammation of the urinary tract in felines may produce the same symptoms. Inflammation of the urinary tract exhibits any of the above symptoms and is much more serious than a UTI so it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice possible symptoms.  Cats’ urinary tracts can also become obstructed, which can be life threatening if not treated in a short period of time. Female cats are affected by UTIs more often than males because they have a wider and shorter urethra.  Cats that are not neutered/spayed are also more prone to infections. 

To diagnose a urinary tract infection in a dog or cat, a veterinarian will need to test your pet’s urine.  Blood, protein, sugar, or white blood cells present in the urine may indicate a UTI.  A bacterial urine culture will be performed to identify the presence of bacteria; the type of bacteria which will help to determine the course of treatment. 

The direct cause of UTIs in pets is generally unknown; but there are some steps you can take as an owner to decrease your pet’s risk for urinary tract infections:

•    Make sure your pet has access to plenty of clean, fresh water
•    Let your pet outside every few hours
•    Take your dog on at least two walks a day

Remember, the symptoms of UTIs may indicate a more serious problem.  Unfortunately, untreated urinary tract infections in dogs and cats can also lead to dangerous kidney infections, so take your pet to a veterinarian right when you notice symptoms to ensure that more severe health problems do not arise.

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