Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Pets
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 (www.doctordym.com) may help address dietary and immune system issues, and will often allow us to strengthen the pet’s health and minimize relapses.