As a pet owner, you might have been shocked to come upon the blood in your dog’s urine. For example, you might see a few drops of blood in the pristine white bowl after your dog has urinated, or you take him out for a walk and notice some rusty red splotches on the ground.
It’s important to keep an eye out for blood in dog urine because it can signal a serious medical condition.
(And if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you need to worry about this.)
What is Blood in the Urine?
Blood can appear in a dog’s urine at any age, but age can be a good indicator of the cause. For instance, dogs can suffer from familial hematuria, which means that blood in the urine is hereditary, and this is the most common cause for blood in the urine of young dogs. However, the most common cause of blood in the urine of an older dog is cancer. Another indicator can be gender because the blood in the urine may be caused by a urinary tract infection, from which females are more likely to suffer than males.
Blood in the urine is a condition medically referred to as hematuria. Blood in the urine is a symptom that can indicate various underlying causes, some of which are very serious. These include cancer (commonly in: older dogs), familial hematuria (younger dogs), and urinary tract infections (females).
Bloody Urine: 6 Causes
While each case is unique, common causes of bloody urine in dogs include:
1.A urinary tract infection
- What Is a UTI?
As with humans, a UTI in dogs refers to an infection of the urinary tract. The most common causes of UTIs in dogs are bacterial. In fact, bacterial urinary tract infections are the most commonly occurring infectious disease in dogs, period. Bacterial UTIs affect 14 percent of all dogs throughout their lifetimes. That means the odds are comparatively high that your dog could experience a UTI at some point in its life.
Most dogs get UTIs when normal skin and gastrointestinal (GI) tract flora get past the urinary tract’s defenses. These bacteria then colonize the urinary tract, leading to an infection. E. coli is the most common bacterial cause of UTIs, but several bacteria and even some fungi can cause infections.
Some factors could increase your dog’s risk of getting a UTI. Female dogs are more likely to get UTIs than males, but male dogs may still get them. UTIs also have an increased rate of occurrence in dogs with other health problems, such as chronic kidney disease and Cushing’s disease.
- Symptoms of UTI in Dogs
6 common UTI symptoms include:
- Bloody and/or cloudy urine
- Straining or whimpering during urination
- Accidents in the house
- Needing to be let outside more frequently
- Licking around the urinary opening
Sometimes, however, dogs don’t show any symptoms of a UTI at all. Your veterinarian might discover the infection while testing for other things in these instances.
For symptomatic dogs, these signs could point toward a possible UTI. However, there are some more serious conditions that your veterinarian will want to rule out first.
When UTI Symptoms Are Something Worse
Urinary tract infections are serious enough on their own. If left untreated, they can lead to dysfunction of the lower urinary tract, kidney or bladder stones, inflammation of the prostate gland, infertility, blood poisoning, and even kidney infection and kidney failure.
Likewise, some symptoms could be a sign of something far more serious than even a UTI.
- What is Uroliths?
Urinary stones (urolithiasis) are a common condition responsible for lower urinary tract disease in dogs and cats. The formation of bladder stones (calculi) is associated with precipitation and crystal formation of a variety of minerals. Several factors are responsible for the formation of urinary stones. The understanding of these processes is important for the treatment and prevention of urinary stones. In general, conditions that contribute to stone formation include:
- a high concentration of salts in the urine
- retention of these salts and crystals for a certain period of time in the urinary tract
- an optimal pH that favors salt crystallization
- a scaffold for crystal formation
- a decrease in the body’s natural inhibitors of crystal formation.
The sequence of events that triggers stone formation is not fully understood. High dietary intake of minerals and protein in association with highly concentrated urine may contribute to increased saturation of salts in the urine. Disease conditions such as bacterial infections in the urinary tract can also increase urine salt concentration.
- Signs And Symptoms of Uroliths
Your pet’s signs may show depending on the urinary stones’ location. Most urinary stones are located in the urinary bladder or urethra and only a small percentage are lodged in the kidneys or ureters. Urinary stones can damage the lining of the urinary tract causing inflammation. This inflammatory reaction may predispose your pet to bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI).
Signs of bladder stones may include:
- blood in the urine
- straining to urinate
- urinating small amount frequently
- abdominal discomfort
- urinary accidents
Urinary stones may physically block the urine flow causing a urinary obstruction that requires immediate emergency treatment.
Signs of urethral stones may include:
- dribbling urine
- straining or posturing to urinate with no urine production
If your pet is showing the above signs of urinary obstruction, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.
Stones may also become lodged in the ureter (the portion of the urinary tract carrying urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder) causing an obstruction that results in serious kidney damage.
Signs of ureteral stones may include:
- abdominal discomfort
- decreased appetite
- blood in the urine
3.Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
- What is cystitis?
Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder, and the term is used as a general description for any disease that causes inflammation.
- What causes cystitis?
Several diseases and conditions can cause cystitis. The most common cause of cystitis in dogs is an infection caused by bacteria. Other common causes include bladder stones, tumors, or polyps in the bladder, and abnormal anatomy (especially in female dogs).
Some dogs will experience interstitial or sterile cystitis, a condition that causes inflammation and associated clinical signs without any infection. You may have heard of this type of inflammatory cystitis in people.
- What are the clinical signs of cystitis?
The most common clinical sign of cystitis is hematuria or blood in the urine. Cystitis also causes discomfort and pain.
Dogs with cystitis may spend several minutes squatting and straining (dysuria) to produce only a small amount of urine, and they may urinate more frequently than normal (pollakiuria).
Many pet owners report observing their pet squatting frequently and dribbling little spots of urine in multiple locations.
Cystitis caused by bacterial infections usually causes hematuria and dysuria.
Bladder stones, caused by excessive amounts of crystalline minerals in the urine, frequently form as a result of bladder infections.
The crystals have sharp edges while the stones can have rough surfaces; both can irritate as they rub against the bladder wall. In severe cases, the bladder stones may block the urethra and obstruct the flow of urine, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Tumors or polyps are usually not irritating to the bladder, but they can cause bleeding and straining to urinate. A urethral diverticulum is an abnormal anatomical defect consisting of a small pouch in the wall of the bladder or urethra.
Bacteria can easily get into this protective pouch and set up an infection that is extremely difficult to treat without surgical removal of the pouch.
4.Tumors of the urinary system (Bladder Cancer)
- What Is Bladder Cancer?
The most common type of urinary bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This is a tumor of the cells that line the inside of the urinary bladder. Other less common types of tumors of the bladder may include leiomyosarcomas, fibrosarcomas, and other soft tissue tumors. TCC can also appear in the kidney, ureters, urethra, prostate, or vagina. It can spread (metastasize) to the lungs, lymph nodes, bones, or other organs.
Approximately 20% of dogs with bladder cancer have metastases at the time of diagnosis. Bladder cancer is much more common in dogs than cats, but TCC only accounts for less than 1% of all reported cancers in dogs. TCC can occur in any breed but is most common in Shetland sheepdogs, Scottish terriers, wirehair fox terriers, West Highland terriers, and beagles. Middle-aged or elderly female dogs are most commonly affected. Some studies have suggested that chronic exposure to certain chemicals (petrochemicals, pesticides) may increase the risk for a dog to develop bladder cancer.
- Clinical Signs
The signs of bladder cancer can be similar to those seen with urinary tract infections. These include small, frequent urination, painful urination, bloody urine, and incontinence. Symptoms will often improve initially with the administration of antibiotics (as bladder infection is a common concurrent disease) but then recur a short time later.
A veterinarian may feel the tumor during abdominal palpation if it is large. If the tumor has spread to lymph nodes within the abdomen, it may be palpated during a digital rectal examination. The spread of tumors to bones can cause lameness or bone pain.
If the bladder tumor invades into the urethra, it can block urine flow and cause straining to urinate. If severe enough, this can eventually lead to kidney damage (hydronephrosis) and possibly kidney failure. Complete inability to urinate is a medical emergency and should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
A ruptured bladder is where the bladder is torn, and urine leaks into the rest of your dog’s abdominal cavity. Trauma to the bladder is incredibly common and can be a very serious condition that may lead to uroperitoneum. This has been linked to serious metabolic and multisystemic disorders, that if not treated promptly and correctly, can be deadly. A ruptured bladder most commonly happens when there is blunt force trauma, but can also happen in several other ways.
Rupture of the bladder occurs when the bladder has burst or been torn, allowing urine to leak into the abdominal cavity. Most often this is due to blunt force trauma.
Symptoms of Rupture of the Bladder in Dogs
The symptoms of a ruptured bladder will vary depending on the cause of the rupture; there will always be some degree of pain associated with it. Ruptured bladders will most often have symptoms before the tearing that you can keep an eye on.
- A urinary tract infection
- Difficulty urinating
- Unable to urinate
- Bloody urine (hematuria)
- Change in appetite
- A distended belly
- Hypovolemic shock (a loss in blood volume)
- Peritoneal signs (the swelling of the abdominal cavity)
- Fractured pelvis (will almost always be present in blunt force trauma causes)
- Significant bloody urine (will also almost always be present in a blunt force case)
There are only two different types of classifications of injured bladders, and they are classed by the severity of the injury. Each type of injury can be located just outside the abdominal cavity in a space called the extraperitoneal space, inside the abdominal cavity being called intraperitoneal space, or within both locations.
Causes of Rupture of the Bladder in Dogs
- Only a few things will cause your pet’s bladder to rupture, the most common being blunt force trauma to his lower abdominal cavity
- Other reasons can be a blockage in his urinary tract, a tumor, a bladder disease, and during surgery
- The bladder is the most injured organ during surgery in the abdominal cavity and pelvic region, happening during the surgery itself or even while having a catheter administered
- Surgeries that can injure your dog’s bladder are gynecological, a colon resection, and a transurethral surgery
- Past surgeries and radiation treatments that create scarring can become a predisposition for a ruptured bladder as well
Treatment of Rupture of the Bladder in Dogs
The first and most important step in treatment will be to stabilize your dog for surgery, after this has been done your veterinarian will drain any leaked urine from his abdominal cavity. Stabilizing your dog will be done in steps as well.
Isotonic saline will be given through an IV, though the amount will depend on your dog. ECG monitoring will most likely be the next step in tracking any cardiac changes. Pain medication and antibiotics will be administered.
Draining the urine will also require steps to be taken:
- Peritoneal dialysis catheter
- Urethral catheter
- Cystostomy tube (if a urethral catheter can not be used)
Once your dog has been stabilized, the next step will be a procedure called an exploratory laparotomy. This is will enable a visual view of any tears in his bladder. If necessary, any tissue that has been damaged or died will be removed. The bladder will be stitched, and cultures were taken for microbial and septic testing. A lavage (the cleansing of the internal cavity by water) will be done, with the abdomen being closed immediately following
- What is haematuria?
Haematuria is the medical term used to describe blood in the urine that occurs due to bleeding in the urinary system. When this happens the urine typically looks red and, occasionally, blood clots are seen. Sometimes bleeding can be on a microscopic level and the urine may appear normal. In these cases, blood may only be detected by laboratory analysis
4 HOME REMEDIES FOR URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS IN DOGS
I will share with you here some natural home remedies that you can concoct in the comfort of your home.
It is well known that when we catch a UTI, we as humans are recommended to drink cranberry juice. But can our dogs do the same thing?
This has not been scientifically proven, but there is every reason to believe that cranberries can actually help your pooch. They could help lower the urine pH levels and therefore prevent bacteria from developing in the bladder.
Be careful not to provide cranberry juice that is too sweet to your pet, to prevent weight gain! Some cranberry treats for dogs may be more suitable and safer.
Consult your vet to find out if this treatment is right for your pet. Cranberries may be advised against in some special cases.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Again, this product that is both common and popular with sick humans would help to lower the pH of your dog’s urine.
Therefore, this liquid will help relieve a bacterial urinary tract infection by neutralizing the bad bacteria in the bladder.
It is suggested, for small dogs, to add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their water or food. For a big dog, one to two tablespoons can be added.
You can give this remedy up to twice a day for seven to ten days depending on the severity of the infection.
Be mindful to also provide your dog with a bowl of water or food without apple cider vinegar, in case they do not like the taste.
You can also use a vitamin C supplement to acidify your dog’s urine. Thus, preventing the development of bacteria in the bladder.
When living in a more acidic environment, bacteria are less able to adhere to the walls of the bladder and therefore their development is more difficult.
On the other hand, an acidic environment also promotes the formation of calcium oxalate crystals. It is, therefore, necessary to use vitamin C in moderation, as well as the two previous products.
Ask your vet for the correct dosage of vitamin C for your pet, as it will vary according to their weight and even their diet.
LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER!
This is my favorite tip! You will certainly have it at hand and it is, in my opinion, the most effective thing to relieve a UTI in your pup.
You cannot go wrong with this remedy.
By drinking a lot of water, your dog dilutes his urine and will relieve himself more often. This can be seen as a cleansing of the bladder, as all the water carries with it the bad bacteria as it is expelled from the body.
You can use this trick even before you have a diagnosis of infection.
Regardless of your dog’s condition, good hydration is always a positive thing. A well-hydrated animal has a more effective immune system and the latter is the most effective tool against any disease or illness.