Friday, August 5, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Cranberries as Good as Antibiotics against UTIs?

Bold statement, isn't it?

A simple, one-time urinary tract infection is pretty straightforward to treat. A course of antibiotics and all done. These days, there is even a high-dose, short-term option.

But what if there is more to it? There are times when one resolved UTI can be followed by another shortly after. And another. And another. And sooner later it will turn into an antibiotic resistant strain. With Jasmine, all it took was a second recurrence.

Treatment options can quickly shrink to nastier and nastier types of antibiotics.

There are many factors that can contribute to recurring urinary tract infections, but believe it or not, the best defense mechanism against UTI is normal voiding. Which means, that anything that decreases the amount of urine or how well the bladder gets emptied sets the stage for chronic problems. That can be anything from obesity, anatomical abnormalities, mobility issues ... Immune function, of course, plays a role.

There are many other factors involved, some of which have to do with the treatment itself. Did anybody run cultures? Was the duration of the treatment sufficient? Was the treatment given as indicated?

Cranberry extract has been on a radar as a tool to prevent UTIs for some time.

Some vets are enthusiastic about cranberries, some cautiously optimistic, and some skeptical. On one hand, there is no harm in trying. On the other hand, how effective is it really?

When Jasmine came down with her UTI we did add cranberry extract to her supplements. But she was also on steroids for her neck and had a number of other challenges all at the same time. It did not work.

It's been thought that cranberries inhibit bacterial growth but what they seem to be doing is preventing the bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls. If they cannot hold on, they get flushed out along with urine. Sounds good.

The above study, conducted in Taiwan, compared a specific cranberry supplement against a specific bacteria.

The supplement we used was a different, prescription product. Worse? Better?  Is the product cited in the study the bees knees?

Can one take results of one such study at face value? The study compared 12 client owned dogs with history of recurrent UTIs. I'm not sure how I feel about the study design.

However, if I suspected that my dog might go down the road of recurring UTIs, I'd give cranberry extract another try.

If for no other reason then in the attempt to avoid having to deal with a resistant strain again.

Source article:
Study Backs Cranberries as UTI Fighter 

Further reading:
Veterinary Trial Confirms that Cranimals UTI Supplement is as Effective as Antibiotics
Breaking The Cycle Of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection 
Managing complicated urinary tract infections

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