Philadelphia, PA - UTIs (urinary tract infections) are more common than you might think in dogs and cats, with an estimated 1 in 50 to 1 in 100 pets experiencing one.
Are Pet UTIs More Common Nowadays?
Unfortunately, UTIs can be painful for your furry friend and can lead to serious long-term health problems if not treated properly. It is important to know the potential causes of a UTI and how to recognize the symptoms so you can act fast.
Luckily for all of us pet parents out there, our beloved fur babies have a natural immune system that helps protect them from harmful bacteria. But just like humans, this does not always mean they will not get sick from time to time.
UTIs in Dogs and Cats
Believe it or not, urinary tract infections are more common than we think and can occur in dogs and cats. About 70% of cats and 50% of dogs will have a UTI at some point in their lives.
The most important thing you can do is start preventative measures as early as possible! You can read and get help to tackle UTI concerns from portals like PetCareRx. If your pet has experienced these symptoms before, they are likely to experience them again.
UTIs are more common in female pets due to differences between the two genders' anatomy. Female dogs and cats have shorter urethras than males, making it easier for bacteria to sneak inside the bladder via the urinary stream. These species also tend to squat much closer to the ground when going outside, increasing the risk of contracting infected debris (like grass clumps or soil).
Why Do Pets Get UTIs?
Both dogs and cats can develop urinary tract infections, but they are more common in dogs. UTIs can happen of a variety of things, such as:
- Unhygienic conditions can lead to bacteria entering the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder) and traveling up into the bladder or kidneys.
- Lack of clean water or poor nutrition can lead to your pet's compromised immune system.
- Bladder stones or tumors can obstruct urination and allow bacteria to enter and cause an infection in the urinary tract.
- Diabetes, kidney disease, hormonal imbalances (e.g., low estrogen levels), obesity, anxiety, and stress
These factors put pets at risk for UTIs since they weaken their immune systems.
What Are the Symptoms of a UTI?
As a pet owner, you may be familiar with the uncomfortable experience of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Over 150 million people each year will get UTIs, and your pets are no exception to this. Worrying about your pet's health, here are some signs to look for:
- Urinating more frequently than usual
- Dribbling urine or straining to pee
- Leaking urine
- Blood in the urine (it will look pink or red)
- Painful urination
- Inability to urinate (if not fixed immediately, this can lead to death)
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine
You can also keep an eye out for these other symptoms that may indicate something is wrong:
Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Fungal infections in cats are rare and can occur from eating contaminated food or licking their paws contaminated with fungal spores.
The fungus responsible for the infection then enters your cat’s stomach, where it can cause anemia by destroying red blood cells. It is more common in cats that have already got treated with antibiotics.
Treatment for Pet Urinary Tract Infections
If your pet is diagnosed with a UTI, your vet will probably put them on antibiotics. According to the experts, amoxicillin is a common option for treating UTIs in dogs. Some vets can also prescribe painkillers or other medications to make your dog more comfortable while they recover.
For cats, treatment will likely be similar. Antibiotics are usually for a cat found with UTI; this lets its immune system get rid of the infection on its own while preventing further damage to the urinary tract. As with dogs, you can also give your cat painkillers or other anti-inflammatory drugs if they seem uncomfortable due to their UTI.
The best way to ensure your pet's urinary health is to keep up with regular vet visits. However, if you notice any of these symptoms at home, ensure to bring them up with your vet.
It is important to remember that UTIs are common in cats and dogs. Whether they happen by a bacterial infection or an anatomical problem, you must catch them early and treat them promptly. Although it is normal for pets to have accidents from time to time, if you notice blood in their urine or any other concerning symptoms, reach out to your vet.