Bladder Infections in a Female Dog
- Common symptoms of a bladder infection in a dog involve urination in some way. Needing to urinate more frequently and urinating in inappropriate places are two common symptoms. The dog may strain to go, or experience pain while urinating. The urine may have a cloudy appearance or unusual odor, and females may experience a vaginal discharge and lick their vulva more often.
- The veterinarian will need a clean sample of urine to check for signs of infection. The simplest way to ensure an untainted sample is to collect it directly from the bladder, which involves inserting a catheter for collection. The veterinarian will test the urine for bacteria, pH levels and the presence of white blood cells.
- Common treatment for bladder infection is administration of oral antibiotics, which usually take about 2 weeks to fully eliminate the infection. A difference will appear in the dog's symptoms after only a few days, but it's important to continue the antibiotics for the full treatment period, otherwise her symptoms may return. Different bacteria respond to different antibiotics, so if her symptoms return after full treatment, she may have multiple bacteria, requiring additional medications.
- While no sure fire way exists to completely prevent bladder infections---any dog, no matter what breed, age or gender is vulnerable to them---ways exist to reduce the possibility. Providing plenty of clean water and maintaining a clean environment for the dog helps prevent bacteria from gathering on her genital region. Frequent bathroom trips outside can also help keep her bladder flushed.
- Untreated bladder infections can result in the formation of a bladder stone. Bladder stones occur when the bacteria begin to gather crystals and other minerals in the dog's urine. These stones are painful for the dog, and can result in many of the same symptoms as an infection. If left untreated, the stone may block the urethra, which can be life threatening.