There are many symptoms that may be present in a dog with a urinary-tract infection, or UTI. These may include the inability to urinate or urinating a small amount, fever, cloudy or bloody urine, urine leakage or whining when urinating. Strong urine odor and frequent licking of the urinary opening can also be signs of a UTI.
Urinary-tract infections occur when bacteria invade the bladder or upper urethra and impair the local defense systems. This impairment causes the body to be unable to fight off the bacteria, resulting in an infection. Urinary-tract infections are more common in aging and female dogs; however, dogs of any age, breed or gender can develop them. Dogs can become very uncomfortable when battling a UTI and must be taken to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis. Veterinarians can perform a urinalysis to determine the presence of bacteria in the urine. If bacteria is present, treatment generally requires taking prescribed antibiotics. A UTI left untreated could allow the bacteria to infect other portions of the body, such as the kidneys and heart. UTIs rarely cause problems when treated promptly; however, in rare cases, obstructions are present, such as stones, which require surgery to remove. Dogs who have frequent UTIs are recommended to undergo dietary changes to prevent future infections.