Browsing tag: urine

Ask a vet online – “My dog has trouble peeing”

Question from Jaamal Dupas:

I have a 7 month old female dog. When she squats to pee the first time it’s normal. Then she tries again and only a few drops. And i noticed a drop of blood the last time she went. Could this be a UTI or her going into her first heat. I have a vet apt in a few days but was just curious.

Answer: Pee Problems-dribbling and blood

Hi Jaamal, thanks for your question about your dog’s urinating. To answer your question, I’m going to discuss the “symptoms” she’s showing, the possible causes, and then talk about how your vet will go about deciding which one of these conditions is the cause, and the treatment options.

What are the symptoms?

Technically, in animals they’re called clinical signs, not symptoms, but it means the same thing. In the case of your dog, she’s able to urinate, but it’s taking her two or more goes to empty her bladder. This is technically called “pollakiuria.”

The other problem you’ve noticed is that there was a drop of blood in the urine last time she went-this is called “haematuria.”

What are the possible causes?

Before your vet can determine what the exact cause is, they’ll need to make what’s called a “differential list”-this is a list of the possible conditions that could cause the clinical signs observed.

In your dog’s case, we can factor in her age and sex to narrow it down a little bit. So, what are the likely possibilities?

1) A urinary tract infection

This is probably the most likely cause! Urinary tract infections in bitches are quite common (more so than in male dogs, because the urethra, the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside world, is shorter and wider). The typical symptoms are an increased frequency and urgency of urination, with some blood in the urine. Your vet may want to do some more tests to confirm it (see below), but it is the most likely explanation.

2) Bladder stones or crystals

Sometimes, due to diet, infection or genetics, the crystals that can form in the bladder enlarge and become stones blocking the urethra. These can be very painful, and often mean it’s difficult for the dog to urinate. I don’t think it’s that likely in your dog’s case because it sounds like she passes urine quite easily, but it is a possibility. In dogs, many crystals and stones are actually due to untreated infections!

3) Her season (oestrus)

As you’re aware, some blood from the vulva is quite normal in bitches during their season (usually every 6–8 months or so)-see here for more info on them: http://www.vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2014/12/16/ask-a-vet-online-what-age-do-seasons-stop/. It isn’t usually associated with passing drops or dribbles of urine though, so although I can’t rule it out, I don’t think it’s the most likely cause.

4) Trauma or injury

Obviously, anything that makes it uncomfortable to urinate may make her stop and start when she’s going. Cuts or bruises around the vulva would account for the signs, but I think there would be more obvious issues, such as obvious pain or swelling or visible wounds.

5) A womb infection

A womb infection can leak brown or red pus that looks very like blood; however, if it occurs it’s usually a few weeks after a season, and you obviously don’t think she’s had her first yet. Although it’s unlikely, I’d always keep it on the list until it can be ruled out, because dogs can become very sick very fast.

6) A bladder or urethra tumour

This is a theoretical possibility, but in a 7 month old I would have to have ruled EVERYTHING else out before I considered it!

Where next?

You’ve already made an appointment with your vet, which is very sensible. As we suspect a urinary infection, I’d advise you to catch a sample of urine before you go in (as fresh as possible, caught in a CLEAN pot), as your vet may well want to do some tests.

Once you get to the vets, they’ll ask you some questions to determine if there are any other symptoms or signs (for example changes in drinking), then they’ll examine her. They may want to take a swab from her vulva to see if she is in fact in season or not; they’ll also have a good feel of her abdomen and bladder to see if they can feel any abnormalities; and look at her vulva for signs of infection or injury.

My experience is that in simple urinary infections, there’s often nothing abnormal on the physical exam-quite often there won’t even be a temperature! That’s why the urine sample is so important. The vet (or their nurse or tech) will usually do a dipstick to look for blood, protein, acidity and so on, which can be suggestive of infection. If there are any abnormalities, they’ll often look at the urine down the microscope, looking for bacteria and white cells, which will confirm the presence of an infection; and for crystals which may indicate a problem with crystals or stones.

If their findings suggest an infection, and there are a lot of antibiotic resistant bacteria in your area, the vet may choose to send away the sample to check which antibiotic is most effective. However, if it is a simple urinary tract infection, in most cases it will resolve quickly with a course of antibiotics and possibly some painkillers.

I hope my answer has helped you understand the possibilities, and that with your vet’s help, she’s soon getting better!

David Harris MRCVS

If you have any worries about your pet, please make an appointment with your vet, or try our Symptom Guide.

Ask a vet online – ‘my dog has been weeing blood could it be infection or something more’

Question from Sharon Harris:

My dog aged 10 has on a couple of times been weeing blood he does one long one which is ok then just walks round weeing bits but that’s when the blood starts he is wanting to go out more often than he usually does ,drinking more still eating and his usual self but have noticed a lump that is inside lower stomach but has lumps all over his body but many wiems have these lumps could it be infection or something more

Answer from Shanika Winters:

Hi Sharon, thank you for your question regarding your 10 year old dog who is passing blood in his urine (wee) this symptom is called Haematuria. It sounds like your dog is still bright and happy in himself, it is possible that his haematuria is due to an infection but can also be related to bladder disease, kidney disease or prostate disease.  It is really important to get your dog examined by your vet as soon as possible.

What will happen when I take my dog to the vet?

Your vet will ask a lot of questions to form a history of what is going on with your dog, including drinking and urinating habits which you have already listed in your question.  It is very helpful to bring in a urine sample in a clean container when the condition relates to the urine.  It can be tricky to catch a urine sample from your dog, especially if they prefer to wee when off the lead but a clean bowl and some perseverance should eventually mean you can get a sample.  Your vet can collect a sample by passing a urinary catheter (long thin soft plastic tube placed into the bladder) but this can be uncomfortable and may require sedation/hospitalisation for your dog.

Your vet will also take into consideration whether or not your pet has been neutered(castrated) as in older male dogs the influence of sex hormones(produced by the testicles) can affect the prostate gland which can lead to haematuria.  The prostate gland is found in male dogs around the neck of the bladder and it produces various secretions which go into semen (the liquid sperm is in).  The prostate gland is usually small and inactive in neutered male dogs, but in entire male dogs the prostate can become enlarged, infected and or cancerous.  Many of the diseases of the prostate gland can lead to haematuria.  Your vet can often feel the shape and size of your dog’s prostate gland by examining your dog internally and externally.

The kidneys are the organ which actually produces urine, your dog has two and they filter his blood to remove toxins and waste products which are then lost in the urine.  So haematuria could be blood coming from the kidneys either due to infection, kidney stones or cancerous changes in the kidneys or the tubing from the kidneys to the bladder (the ureters).

The bladder is a stretchy bag made of muscle and lined with a delicate membrane (layer) which stores the urine produced by the kidneys and empties out through a tube called the urethra.  Haematuria could be blood from the bladder or urethra due to infection, stones, polyps, trauma (accidents) or cancerous changes.

Your vet will thoroughly examine your dog paying extra attention to the back end of the abdomen, will also check your dog’s penis and likely examine your dog internally (via his bottom).  This helps to give information about the kidneys, bladder and prostate gland.

What will happen to the urine sample?

The first thing your vet will do is look at the colour of the urine sample, this may or may not show visible blood, sometime only tiny traces of blood are present in the urine sample and can be picked up on a dip stick. A urine dip stick is a card strip that has lots of little coloured patches on it; they each detect different chemicals and substances in the urine and give a quick result.  Most veterinary practices can also examine urine samples under the microscope to look for unusual cells and or crystals. If the result and rest of your dog’s examination suggests infection then your vet may suggest trying a course of antibiotics.  If however your vet thinks there may be more going on a carefully collected urine sample may be sent for laboratory analysis which involves culture and sensitivity, this looks at what bacteria are present and which antibiotics are likely to work on them.

What further test might my dog need?

Your vet may suggest blood tests to check that your pet has not lost too much blood, how its general health is and how well its body organs are functioning.  Blood tests do not always show up a lot of changes but this still gives us information as to how your dog is.

X-rays may be taken conscious or under sedation or general anaesthesia, this gives a picture of what is happening inside of your dog, in the case of the bladder and prostate gland we sometimes add a contrast (chemical or air) to help show up details of the tubing and bladder lining.

Ultra sound scans are another way of looking more closely at what is happening inside your dog, in order for these to be performed an area of fur will be clipped away, the skin cleaned and then a gel placed onto it to help p the ultrasound probe to make good contact and pick up details.  Ultrasound scans can be particularly useful for looking at the kidneys and bladder.

What possible treatments might my dog need?

The exact treatment your dog has will depend on what disease process is found in in what part of your dog it is.

Urine tract infection:
This is usually treated with a course of antibiotics and repeat urine samples tested to see when the infection has cleared.

Bladder stones/urine crystals:
This can be treated using special diets to reduce stone/crystal formation, surgery to remove stones, medications to help dissolve stones/crystals along with antibiotics and pain relief as required.

Bladder growths/polyps:
These can be surgically removed and analysed to give an idea of they are likely to return or cause further problems.

Kidney infection: 
This is usually treated by intensive antibiotics along with intra venous fluid therapy (drip line into your dog) to help keep the kidneys flushed through and functioning.

Kidney growth/abnormalities:
If the growth is cancerous and might spread then the kidney might be surgically removed. If the kidney is diseased e.g. polycystic then it will be left in place and your dog given medications and diets to help preserve what is left of its kidney function.

Prostate enlargement/growths:
If your dog is entire then surgical or chemical castration might be advised along with surgery to de bulk the growth if appropriate.

I hope that my answer has helped you to understand how complex something as simple as blood in the urine can be.  Hopefully with your vets help, your dog will be on his road to recovery soon.

Shanika Winters MRCVS (Online vet)

If you have any worries about your pet, please make an appointment with your vet, or try our Symptom Guide.

Rusty aims too high!

Rusty with his Vet

Rusty with his Vet

Young Rusty the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had an embarrassing problem. Everything was going well until he started to cock his leg at about five months of age. Instead of watering the local lampposts, Rusty had a problem which meant he urinated on the underside of his body and under his armpits. He was now over a year old with no sign of things getting better.

His owners were becoming very distraught about the problem. It meant Rusty had to be bathed at least once a day and his skin was starting to get sore where it was constantly wet. Something drastic had to be done. We all scratched our heads in the practice. Rusty had no illness problems and all his nerve reflexes were fine but he just seemed to slightly arch his back when he had a pee and everything went skywards.

I consulted a soft tissue specialist in Bristol and he said that he had only seen one other case which took two operations to correct. He talked me through the procedure and said that he thought it was something we could do without the need for referral to a specialist centre.

The result of Rusty's operation.

The result of Rusty's operation.

The plan was to close up the hole where Rusty normally peed and make a new hole a little further back but pointing downwards. Technically it’s known as a prepucial urinary diversion operation.

It’s always a little daunting to be doing an unfamiliar operation but the surgery went very well. Rusty seemed very comfortable at his three day post op check and had started to use the new hole almost immediately after going home. His owner was delighted. He even got used to wearing his Elizabethan collar whilst his stitches healed.

On the first trip up the road, Rusty cocked his leg against a car wheel which made a metallic ping when he hit the hub cap. He was so surprised, it made him jump! Now Rusty is marking his territory just like nature intended and we are all delighted.

Rusty is much happier since his successful operation.
Rusty is much happier since his successful operation.

If you are concerned about urinary problems in your dog, please contact your vet or use our interactive Dog Symptom Guide to help you decide what to do next. For more information about insurance which could ensure the cost of operations like this one are covered, please see our pet insurance pages

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