Pet urinary tract infections according to one recent study are the most common reason for veterinarian visits. They also can be one of the most problematic if left untreated, or treated in a manner which fails to produce a cure. So I think you would agree with me that these are infections that need to be avoided if possible.
While my veterinarian tells me there have been some fabulous development in antibiotics there is always a chance treatment will be misguided or only partially successful.
But before antibiotic treatment is needed first your pet must become infected. As you may have guessed from the title of this article age plays a major role with over 7 out of 10 cases being pets that fall into the category of senior.
Why Does This Occur?
The path of entry for the types of bacteria that cause a bacterial infection is though the urethra. In males the bacteria has farther to travel than in females thus explaining why female cats and dogs are twice as likely to become infected. Additional larger dogs are typically more at risk.
The truth of the matter is for years bacteria has been lurking around your pets private parts just waiting for an opportunity to strike. Many attempts likely were made only to repelled by a fierce immune system combined with urine flushing the invading bacteria out of urinary tract.
At some point though the balance of power will shift as the natural aging process along with a myriad or diseases and/or inactivity (and possibly stress) weakens your pets defenses to a point where it is no longer able to repel the invading bacteria.
After entering through the urethra the bacteria will move rapidly up the urinary tract to the bladder where it has the potential to flourish, possibly embedding itself into the tissue lining of the bladder and eventually ascending to the kidneys where it can turn deadly.
In the vast majority of cases your pet will not be able to get rid of the infection on its own! If left untreated there is a good chance the kidneys will become infected and even if cured there is at least a 50 percent chance for the infection to become recurring or chronic.
Looking for Signs and Symptoms
Early detection and treatment greatly increases the chances for a successful cure. If one or more of the following symptoms are noticed a trip to the veterinarian is on order:
Blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, unexplained urinary accidents, passing only small amounts of urine, frequent attempts to urinate with little or no success, urine with an ammonia smell, tenderness in the lower abdominal area, unexplained fatigue, along with a low-grade fever.
There are any number of ways to help your dog or cat avoid becoming infected. Some ideas that have worked well for me over the years are to make sure your pet drinks plenty of clean purified water, consumes an age appropriate diet that is PH suitable, stays active, and receives regular veterinary care.
Additionally, for some pet owners a safe and effective homeopathic (the science of dilutions) formula containing ingredients such as Berberis and/or Cantharis could make sense, as these types of remedies can be used as a complimentary supplement when avoiding re-infection is the goal or a stand-alone treatment in very mild cases.
When you get right down to preventing your pet from a bacterial infection of the urinary tract is all about making smart pet friendly choices and leveling the playing field when it comes to age related deficiencies.
I believe the ideas listed above, along with close consultation with your veterinarian, are a good place to start.