Sunday, July 5, 2015

Urinary Tract Infections

By: Jane Bicks, DVM

Urinary tract infections in people are fairly straight forward. Sufferers experience pain during urination or a frequent urge to go that is a false alarm. For us humans, going to the doctor is usually the next step, whereupon a course of antibiotics is prescribed which usually resolves the problem. Unfortunately, urinary tract infections for dogs and cats aren’t often a simple matter. These infections oftentimes have underlying causes, such as urinary stones, anatomical abnormalities, incontinence, hormonal conditions, stress or even cancer, any of which can contribute to recurrent disease. To ascertain just what’s causing your pet kid’s urinary tract issues really does require the expertise of your veterinarian. Urinary tract conditions can be painful and debilitating, and it is important to detect the signs early for the best chance of solving the problem.

Traditional veterinarians like to focus on infection as a cause, and treat with an antibiotic. Antibiotics can cure or eliminate symptoms, whether by killing the bacteria or acidifying the urine. Sometimes, however, this course of treatment doesn’t represent a final answer, unless a culture tells otherwise. For me, as a holistic veterinarian, I look at every aspect of the problem. Urinary tract syndromes are caused by many things and other parts of the body need to be supported, too. For example, stress can cause urinary symptoms by its affect on hormone production.

The good news is that the signs of urinary problems are fairly obvious in both dogs and cats. Take your pet kid to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms …

• Out-of-character elimination in the home … that is, failure to maintain expected house or litter-box training
• A dog who asks to go outside more often or a cat making excessive trips the litter box
• repeatedly assuming the posture to pee but very little is produced
• blood-tinged urine
• excessive licking ‘back there’
• excessive drinking, panting and/or obvious discomfort

It is helpful to bring a fresh sample of urine to your vet’s office, which can be tested for the presence of white blood cells, protein, crystals and bacteria. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and may recommend additional testing, such as a urine culture, blood work and x-rays, especially if this is a recurring problems.
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