Urinary tract infections are some of the most common infectious diseases found in dogs, period. If your dog has suffered from more than a handful of UTIs in his lifetime, particularly in close succession, he may be prone to recurrent urinary tract infections.
Repeated occurrences of UTIs should always be addressed by a veterinarian, of course. Even one-off UTIs need to be treated by a vet, usually with antibiotics, and usually won’t clear up on their own. If your dog seems to always be dealing with urinary issues, consider these four potential causes…
There are two types of urinary tract infections: ones caused by new, unique organisms and relapses of past infections. In many cases, dogs get second (or third, or fourth) UTIs in a short period of time not because of new bacteria but because the original infection wasn’t completely controlled the first time around. Signs of a relapse infection can take anywhere from a week to a month or more to fully appear.
There are a lot of reasons a relapse can happen. Most occur when the infection doesn’t respond, or at least isn’t completely eradicated, by the treating antibiotic.
What’s that? Dermatitis is a general term for irritated skin. Dogs with dermatitis around their urethra’s are highly prone to contracting UTIs. Female dogs are especially predisposed. When a dog’s skin is folded or wrinkled so moisture collects, bacteria thrives. This bacteria can easily make it into your dog’s urinary tract which in turn leads to UTIs. Subtle abnormalities in a dog’s skin are easy to miss, so ask your vet to take a closer look if recurrent UTIs are an issue.
3. Urinary Retention
If your dog isn’t fully able to empty his bladder when he urinates, he’s likely to come down with a urinary tract infection eventually. This problem, known as urinary retention, is a symptom of UTIs themselves, so it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Chronic urinary retention can be caused by a lot of things including muscle weakness, rupture of the urethra or bladder, loss of coordination, or permanent injury. If you suspect your dog isn’t emptying his bladder every time he goes, you’ll want to get a vet’s opinion.
4. Underlying Illness
In rare cases, UTIs may actually be symptomatic of a chronic underlying illness. Diabetes in dogs, for example, can sometimes result in UTI symptoms either before or after diagnosis. Endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s Disease are also known to cause recurrent urinary issues. In rare cases, certain cancers can result in chronic UTIs.
It’s likely your dog is already under the close watch of a veterinarian if he’s been suffering from recurrent UTIs. If that’s not the case – maybe you’ve changed veterinarians or recently moved – be sure to let your vet know if urinary tract infections are a common occurance for your dog so she can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to determine what’s really going on.
Does your dog keep getting UTIs?