What Causes Blood in Dog’s Urine?
The presenting symptom of a pet urinating blood can have many potential causes. The most important question I ask pet owners with a dog having blood in its urine is to find out whether it is associated with urgency, straining, increased frequency, or difficulty urinating. In those cases, one of the more common causes is overgrowth of various bacteria in the urinary tract, which is usually best treated by a veterinary exam, urine analysis and possibly prescription antibiotics by your vet for pet medicines like Amoxicillin, Clavamox, Cephalexin or Baytril.
Most of the first time simple urinary tract infections usually respond within several days; however, if the symptoms are relapsing or don’t resolve, then a sterile urine culture is performed to look for resistant bacteria, thus allowing a better antibiotic selection, and/or x-rays performed to look for other abnormalities (like urinary tract calculi or stones).
If no known causes are apparent then a more complete workup including CBC/chemistry blood work, as well as ultrasound of the abdomen can be done to look for other abnormalities such as hormonal disorders like Cushing’s disease, diabetes, as well as urinary tract anatomic abnormalities, in addition to even polyps or tumors, particularly in older pets.
Many overweight dogs can sometimes have recurrent urinary tract infections because of anatomic problems associated with a deep seated or sunken vulva, as well as extra skin folds in the vaginal area, which may need surgical correction to prevent urinary tract infection relapse. Even after a thorough diagnostic workup, there are cases in which veterinarians are unable to figure out why a pet has recurrent urinary tract infections. In those cases, some vets will prescribe pulse antibiotic therapy the first several days of each month, or low dose PM continuous chronic antibiotic therapy given at bedtime.
There are also holistic options that can be explored like homeopathy or traditional Chinese medicine or acupuncture. For pets with simple signs of acute urinary tract infections or inflammations, I will advise pet owners to use immune boosting supplements like Cranberry Relief, which can boost the immune system of the urinary tract, along with vitamin C at various dosages.
In cases in which there is chronic bloody urine or bloody discharge from the urethra without signs of urinary tract straining, urgency or frequency, then those pets should have a complete evaluation. This should include not only urine analysis/culture, but also full blood panels to screen for diseases that could be involved with bleeding or clotting disorders such as autoimmune diseases of the platelets, genetic clotting abnormalities, tick borne diseases, etc.
With a systematic approach to dogs with bloody urine, most cases can be adequately diagnosed and controlled with time and patience.