Some pet problems are more common than others, and urinary issues rank at the top of the list of frequently diagnosed ailments. Unfortunately, urinary problems in pets can be bothersome, painful, and can lead to more serious problems.
The team at Pets in Stitches want our clients to be able to recognize urinary problems early, so that our four-legged family members get the treatment they need as soon as possible.
Signs of Trouble
The urinary tract is composed of several important parts: the kidneys, which produce urine, the ureters that drain the kidneys, the urinary bladder, and the urethra, which drains urine into the outside world.
When a pet is having urinary problems, one or more symptoms may be exhibited. These can seem very obvious, but many times early in the course of an issue, symptoms are much more subtle. Be on the lookout for:
- Increased frequency of urination (pollakiuria)
- Increased volume of urination (polyuria)
- Straining to urinate (stranguria)
- Vocalizing during urination
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Urinating in inappropriate places (periuria)
- Strong odor to urine
- Increased drinking (polydipsia)
- Signs of pain
- Leaking or dribbling urine
If you are noticing any of these things, it is important to have your pet examined right away.
Causes of Urinary Problems in Pets
When a pet is experiencing urinary trouble, the first thing that must happen is to identify what the problem is. Because there are multiple causes of urinary problems in pets, diagnostics, such as urinalysis, blood work, radiography, and/or ultrasound, are used to get to the bottom of the matter.
More common causes for urinary problems in pets may include:
- Behavioral problems (territory marking, separation anxiety)
- Bladder infection
- Crystal formation in the urine
- Endocrine problems, including diabetes
- Systemic diseases, such as kidney disease
- Prostate problems
- Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
- Stones in the urinary tract
- Urinary incontinence
Some of these issues may have serious implications, especially if they obstruct urinary flow. It is best to arrive at a quick and accurate diagnosis.
Help Is on the Way
Urinary problems in pets are treated differently, depending on their cause. Most simple lower urinary tract infections are treated with a course of antibiotics. Other conditions like uroliths (urinary tract stones) may need surgery and/or a dietary change to be resolved. Certain prostate problems may resolve with neutering, while systemic conditions often need medical management to help resolve clinical signs.
As you may have gathered, a lot depends on what the primary problem is, but urinary problems in pets are uncomfortable for your furry friend and can result in serious consequences if untreated. A lower urinary tract infection may progress to a kidney infection, a stone may become lodged in the urethra and prevent urination, or a cystitis flare in a cat may end up in urinary obstruction.
If your pet is exhibiting signs of urinary trouble, don’t delay in getting things checked out. When it comes to the urinary tract, it is better to be safe than sorry.