Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A bladder infection occurs when microbes (usually bacteria) get into the bladder and proliferate. Any dog can get a bladder infection, though females are more likely to get one. Because the disease irritates the organ, it increases the pet’s urge to urinate. Frequent squatting or straining without a lot of results is the biggest sign a pet has a bladder infection. Urine might also be cloudy or tinged with blood. Bladder infections can even lead to bladder stones (and vice versa). Treatment for the infection includes a course of antibiotics. If stones occur they must be removed through surgery, broken up by sounds waves, or eliminated via a special diet.
The bladder is an expandable sac, like a balloon, that lies toward the back of the abdomen. Urine flows from the kidneys, through the tube-shaped ureters, and into the bladder, where it is stored before being eliminated from the body through a tube called the urethra.
Urine in the bladder is normally sterile unless bacteria travel up the urethra and cause an infection. Bacteria may be introduced from the nearby rectal area or from the genital tract. Conditions such as diabetes can increase the risk of developing bladder infections, as can medications that depress the immune system, including high-dose or long-term corticosteroids.
In long-standing infections, the bladder tissue can thicken and scar, creating more places for bacteria to grow. Long-term infection also increases the chances that infection will spread upstream to the kidneys or cause bladder stones to form.
Urinary infections irritate the walls of the bladder, so pets with bladder infections have the urge to go even when there is little urine present. They will frequently pass small amounts of urine, often tinged with blood. Constant squatting and straining without passing much urine, or having urinary accidents in the house are typical indicators of potential urinary tract infection.
Bladder infections change the chemical makeup of the urine, which makes it easier for minerals in the urine to crystallize and form stones. Bladder stones add to the irritation and create places for bacteria to hide from bodily defenses and antibiotics.
On some occasions, bladder stones can also block the outflow of urine, which is a serious emergency situation. Pets with urinary obstruction can have a swollen, painful abdomen and strain repeatedly without passing urine. This is a medical emergency!
Your veterinarian can usually diagnose an uncomplicated bladder infection based on your pet’s history and a urinalysis. In some cases, a urine sample might be sent to a laboratory to determine the specific bacteria involved (through a culture and sensitivity test) as well as an effective antibiotic for treatment. Abdominal X-rays or ultrasound imaging are sometimes needed to look for stones, tumors, or other abnormalities involving the bladder.
Treatment for a simple bladder infection usually consists of a week or two of antibiotics. Chronic or severe infections may require longer treatment. Infections that clear up and then recur may suggest an underlying problem requiring additional diagnostic testing and treatment.
If bladder stones are present, there are several options for eliminating them:
This article was reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Bethany, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, will be
reunited with her family after American
Airlines put her on the wrong…
We scoured our database of 1.5 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
Getting something special for your animal
this holiday season? Make sure it's not
one of these dangerous items.
From ID tags to photo ornaments, you'll
love these personalized stocking stuffers
for dogs that are under $15.
We surveyed 1,235 dog owners on
whether they shop for their canines, how
much they spend and what they buy.
Cat style expert Kate Benjamin shares
her favorite feline toys, collars and treats
that are under $10 (and quite…
As the muscular Toyger slinks through your living room, it would be easy to imagine that she is truly a wild cat.
Thank you for subscribing.