Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bladder Infections In Dogs

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, Phand Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS 

A dog with a bladder infection is a dog at risk for bladder stones. 

A dog's urinary bladder is a sac-like organ for storing urine.  It is found within the abdomen in the area between the rear legs.  When the muscles in the dog's bladder wall contract, the urine then flows through the urethra, which is the narrow tube that carries the urine outside the body.  A ring or "donut" of muscle called a sphincter surrounds the urethra near the bladder, closing off the flow of urine until it's time to go.

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Normally, urine is sterile, which  means that it doesn't contain any bacteria or other microorganisms.

However, bacteria can sometimes travel up the urethra into the dog's bladder, causing your dog to have a bladder infection.

Infection leads to irritation, which causes the muscles in the bladder wall to spasm and an urge to urinate more often than usual.  

Dogs with a bladder infection typically strain to urinate frequently, often passing only a small amount of cloudy or bloody urine.  If you pet needs to urinate more frequently than usual or starts having accidents, these are signals to see your veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.

In some bladder infections, minerals in the urine crystallize and form bladder stones, which can be as small as grains of sand or larger than marbles or small rocks.  

X-ray of bladder stones. Image: Little Critters Vet
Bladder stones can also create areas where bacteria can hide from antibiotics, leading to long-term infections that are difficult to treat.

Your veterinarian may be able to feel stones by palpating the bladder (ie, feeling it through the abdominal wall), but an x-ray or ultrasound is usually needed for a definite diagnosis.

In some cases, the stones can be dissolved by feeding your pet a special diet that changes the mineral content of the urine.  In other cases, your pet may need surgery to remove the stones or treatment with sonic vibrations that "crushes" the stones.

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4 comments

  1. How funny that you should post this topic today. I just found out that my very favorite dog client has bladder stones and may have to have surgery to remove them. It explains so much about his behavior. His mom has been tying to identify the issue for some time, but it wasn't until the ultrasound that it was confirmed.
    Valuable info to share!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, telepathy? :-)

    So sorry about the poor baby, that must hurt! Glad they figured it out!

    Curious, no signs of crystals showed up in urinalysis, not urination issues were noted and no infection was found prior to this diagnosis?

    ReplyDelete
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