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Bladder Infections in Dogs

"Bladder infections in dogs occur because thebladder is a favorableenvironment for bacterial growth. Pathogenic bacteria can ascend intothe bladder through theurethra, which is the tube which guides urine to the outside of thebody. Predisposing factors such asa urinary obstruction, an immune deficiency problem and altered urineconcentration are factors needed for the growth of infectious agentssuch as bacteria. There is also a small possibility that viruses mayinfect a dog's bladder, thusbacteria are considered only possible cause and not a definititivecause of dog bladder infections"

Typical symptoms of canine bladder infectioninclude painfuland frequent urination, a reduced volume of urine, and the passing ofblood mixedwith mucous at end of urine stream and generalized illness. Inlaboratory, the species of bacteria causing the problem cannot bealways detected; urinalysisand detection of respective antibodies are enough for confirmation.Antibiotic therapy and supportive measures are part of specifictreatment plan.

Causes of Bladder Infections in Dogs:

Pathogenic bacteria are considered to be the onlycauses of bladder infections indogs. Viruses may cause other renal (kidney) infections, but there islittle evidencethat a virus can cause a dog bladder infection. It is believed that adog's bladder is an unfavorable environment for viral proteins.

Bacterial infections in a dog's bladder are alsocalled, “Bacterial Cystitis”.A number of bacterial species such as Staphylococcus, Proteus, E.Coli,Streptococcus, Klebseilla etc can cause canine bladder infections.Studies show that it is impossible for pathogenic bacteria to passthrough the renal cavity and cause dog bladder infections. In mostcases, bacteriausually ascends from the urethra and infects the walls of the dog'surinary bladder,ending with severe inflammation and lesions.

Symptoms of Bladder Infections in Dogs:

In the case of dog urinary tract infection (UTI)and specifically urinarybladder infections, there are typical symptoms that indicate thatinfecton is the problem includingstraining while urinating,severe pain while passingurine through the urinary tract, and frequent urination with a lowvolume of urine.

Similarly, urinating in inappropriate places isanother symptomof a dog urinary tract problem. These symptoms are alos associated withlower urinary tract infections, bladder stonesand canine urinary tract cancers.

Specifically, symptoms such as the passing of blood mixed with mucousand pusrepresents the presence of an infectious problem in the urinarybladder. In the case ofbacterial cystitis, blood and mucous would pass from the body at theend of the urine streamand can cause severe pain. Clinically, a diseased dog appears dull,uncomfortable and feels pain on abdominal palpation (touching).Anorexia (appetite loss), fever,weakness and aggressiveness are some other related signs.

Diagnosis of Bladder Infections in Dogs:

Clinical symptoms and a veterinary examination canhelp with the diagnosis, but confirmation of a bacterial infection ismade withlaboratory testing. Laboratory studies do not always reveal the exactspecie of causative bacteria. Usually a detailed urinalysisand immune response detection is enough to confirm an infectionin the bladder, e.g. detection of urine pH is helpful in detectingStaphylococcusand Proteus species if the urine appears alkaline, (5.5 – 9).Similarly,the concentration, consistency and level of different components in theurineindicate different species of bacteria.

Radiography on other hand can help in differentinga dog bladder infection from other illnesses. For example, thepossibilityof dog bladder stones and canine cancers can be eliminated with anabdominalx-ray.

Treatment of Bladder Infections in Dogs:

In most cases the exact specie of bacteria cannotbe confirmed inbladder infections, thus broad spectrum antibiotics which can kill avariety of bacteria are considered to bethe treatment of choice. Similarly, based on the results of aurinalysis,high doses of therapeutics can be administered in order to completelyeliminate the infectious agents.

There is some concern regarding using vigorousantibiotic therapy, since antibiotics can have side effects such as theelimination of helpful micro-flora inthe bladder and possible sensitivity to the medications themwselves.Therefore sensitivity tests should be performed prior to the administration of antibiotics. Amoxicillin,Cefadroxil and Ometoprim-sulfadimethoxine are somefrequently used antibiotics for treatment of bladder infections indogs. Depending upon the severity of the infection, these can be used for 2weeks or more.

As a supportive therapy, symptoms can be treated with specific drugs,but general care isimportant. A diseased dog should be supplied with excess amounts ofhygienic (clean) water. Foods containing high concentrations of minerals should be prohibited. Similarly, some natural remedies such as UTI-Free Formula can help regulate urinary tract physiology and can help to reduce the effects of vigorousantibiotic therapy, related to elimination of micro-flora in bladder.

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References:

MerckVeterinary Manual (Merck & Co. 2008)

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