Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Pets

Recurrent urinary tract infections are common in dogs

Recurrent urinary tract infections are common in dogs and less so in cats, but can be frustrating causes of urinary tract symptoms in our companion animals. Symptoms may include painful or difficult urination, increased frequency of urination, inappropriate urination, as well as bloody urination.

The most common cause of recurrent urinary tract infections in pets is inadequate length of appropriate antimicrobial therapy when treating initial infections. While many veterinarians will dispense 7-10 days of an antibiotic, I find it more helpful to administer antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks, even in a first time infection to make sure the infection is eradicated. If a flare-up recurs in the future, I will often culture the urine to check for resistant bacterial overgrowth, as well as to help guide my antibiotic therapy. A full exam to check for anatomic problems of the penis or perivaginal area, where often extra skin folds exist, or poor vaginal conformation may be present, which may predispose to relapsing urinary infections. X-rays are also often indicated to rule out urinary tract stones, as well as sometimes ultrasound to assess for any bladder polyps or tumors, especially in older pets.

In cats who have had repeated catheterization for urinary tract blockages, recurrent urinary tract infections are common, as it is in cats who have had perineal urethrostomy surgeries for such blockages. In these cases, periodic urine analyses and urine cultures are indicated to monitor for relapse and to allow us to institute prompt antibiotic therapy when indicated.  In those cases where no predisposing causes can be found in pets with recurrent urinary infections, options include pulse antibiotic therapy the first 5 days of every month, or even low dose chronic evening antibiotic therapy to keep infections in check.

A consultation with a homeopathic vet ( may help address dietary and immune system issues, and will often allow us to strengthen the pet’s health and minimize relapses.

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  2. she wants to pee alot but not or much comes out also she is on heat.when she is inside she is sleeping alot,when i walk her she seems fine

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    She could have urinary tract infection. Best to take to vet for exam and urine analysis to help sort this out.

  4. My Pom pees traces of blood sometimes and sometimes it looks like a streak of blood in the pee. She doesn’t seem to have a problem peeing but she does go more often than I think is necessary and sometimes she only pees a drop after she sits and sits and sits there. What could be happening? She is currently on an antibiotic, just started this week. How long does it take for an antibiotic to kick in and start taking care of the problem that it is prescribed for?

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 13, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Usually if antibiotics correct for a given infection, improvement usually seen within a few days. If no change, then return to vet for urine culture done to rule out resistant bacteria, as well as x ray to rule out stones.

  6. I have a 8yr old rescue lab/collie mix. His water intake has greatly increased and i have notices his urinates more frequently and it had changed in color to a greenish color”almost neon in color” There is no blood or color of red .

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    He needs complete vet exam and evaluation, as well as blood work and urine to check for underlying causes

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