What You Need to Know About Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

How Do You Treat and Prevent Recurrent UTIs?

If an underlying cause is present, it must be corrected with medication or surgery to successfully prevent UTIs from relapsing.

But if no underlying issue is identified, veterinarians must use other strategies to prevent recurrent UTIs. Here are some options that your veterinarian may discuss with you:

  • Increased water intake to allow for more frequent urination
  • Antibacterial wipes, which can keep bacteria numbers low in the genital area and prevent them from gaining entry into the bladder
  • Long-term, low-dose prophylactic antibiotic therapy to keep the bladder sterile
  • Cranberry extract, which may prevent some bacteria from causing UTIs
  • Bladder antiseptics
  • Probiotics

Why Is Continued Monitoring of Recurrent UTIs So Important?

Recurrent UTIs are a risk factor for the development of certain bladder stones and may result in kidney infections that can cause significant damage.

All dogs with recurrent UTIs — whether they have symptoms or not — should be given regular urine cultures every three months.

In the event of a recurrent UTI, antibiotics should be used for four weeks, in addition to a prevention strategy advised by your vet.

As for Abby, she was diagnosed with excessive vulvar skin folds, which caused skin infections that were spreading into her bladder. Once she had surgery to correct the abnormality, she was monitored with regular urine cultures for one year — and never experienced another UTI.


Dr. Donna Spector is a board-certified internal medicine specialist who practices in the northern Chicago area. She also owns a consulting business and provides daily clinical case consultations and continuing education to more than 1,800 primary care veterinarians.

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