What does blood in a dog’s urine signify?
I’m sure it is every dog owner’s nightmare to find blood in their dog’s urine! No matter how much we tell ourselves not to over-react to every situation affecting our children and dogs, this would in my books, count as a scary moment calling for emergency action! The animal experts agree that if this should occur, you must take your dog to the nearest veterinarian within 24 (twenty-four) hours!
Know your dog’s medical history
(blood in a dog’s urine could have a range of underlying causes)
‘Prepare to answer any questions about your dog’s peeing habits, which I trust you have been keeping tabs on. Know your dog’s medical history and possible incidents that may have led to the presence of blood in its urine. The following questions could provide the veterinarian with possible clues as to which organs may be affected:
- The frequency of urination and/or blood stains and accidents in the house? The quantity of urine passed, i.e., small drops intermittently or a lot at a time?
- Does your dog strain and seem in pain when urinating?
- Did you notice blood at the beginning or end of the urination?
- Have you noticed any changes in your dog’s appetite and water consumption lately?
A physical examination of your dog will include a comprehensive blood profile and blood count as well as a urinalysis. This serves to determine any underlying causes of blood in your dog’s urine.
Blood in a dog’s urine is commonly termed as Haematuria. The potential causes are limitless, but documented case studies have identified the most common causes.
Common conditions, causes, and treatments for blood in a dog’s urine
Underlying conditions for the presence of blood in your dog’s urine
Possible causes and symptoms of blood in your dog’s urine
Diagnosis and treatments provided by a Veterinarian
Lower urinary tract infection (bladder)
Caused by bacteria or a virus. It is one of the most common causes of haematuria (blood in a dog’s urine)
Antibiotics normally work very well.
A change in your dog’s diet. Balanced nutrition is vital in maintaining health.
Kidney or bladder stones
The formation of hard, tiny crystal-like stones caused by the presence of minerals.
A special diet to help disintegrate the stones.
Bacterial and fungal growths can cause infectious diseases in your dog.
The bacteria or fungi irritate the bladder, kidneys or urethra (in female dogs) causing the presence of blood in a dog’s urine.
Veterinarians commonly prescribe Antibiotic medications for infectious diseases in dogs.
Kidney or liver disease
Untreated dental disease, bacteria, and ingested toxins could be the main cause of blood in a dog’s urine.
Dogs should be vaccinated at a young age. IV fluids, antibiotics and sometimes steroids.
Potential causes of inflammation in your dog are food allergies, environmental stress, parasites, bacteria, genetics, and metabolic diseases.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Antibiotics, Natural herbs also work well.
Haemophilia (slow clotting of blood) can cause an alarming amount of blood in a dog’s urine.
Mostly an inherited disorder as a result of a spontaneous mutation of a specific gene. This causes a deficiency in the blood clotting Factor (VIII)
Dogs with hemophilia will require periodic blood transfusions to replace the deficient protein that promotes coagulation.
Tumors and Cancer
In addition to blood in the dog’s urine, additional symptoms such as incontinence (the dog is unable to control its urination), frequent and painful urination, and a decrease in the quantity of urine passed.
Veterinarians use chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or a combination of these to treat dog cancer.
Urinary tract infection
Caused by bacteria or a virus. Female dogs are the most susceptible.
Responds well to antibiotics.
Heat cycle or estrus (female dogs)
Hormonal changes in the dog’s reproductive system.
Regular checks by a veterinarian. balanced diet and supplements
Stress as a cause of blood in your dog’s urine
Dogs, like humans, have a stress response to various external stimuli that can have a psychological effect as well as an adverse effect on their physical bodies. For humans, the death of a loved one, divorce and moving house count among the five major stressors in life. Similarly, things like these have untold psychological and physical consequences on dogs.
Dogs respond to anything that disrupts their routine, especially moving or the death of an owner. Dogs experience and react to various stressors. Some of these include very loud noises like fireworks, thunderstorms, building operations being carried out in the nearby vicinity.
However, if your dog remains in this stressed and depressive state for too long, it can start affecting its health and/or behavior adversely. Quick action and professional intervention are needed in such cases. The long-term effects of untreated stress can be traumatic for both dog and owner.
Take note if your dog exhibits some of the following stress-related symptoms:
Change in appetite
Abstinence from food is usually one of the first signs that your dog is suffering from stress. It needs to be taken seriously if it results in weight loss, especially dogs with a medical history.
A lack of adequate nutrition can be dangerous and may lead to some of the following adverse conditions:
The immune system becomes weakened
Cortisol is the ‘fight or flight‘ hormone released by the body as a natural defense mechanism against stress. Without this, dogs will be unable to ward off infections and diseases. Over time, this can become a source of major health and behavioral problems.
Adrenaline is another ‘fight or flight’ hormone released by the dog’s body. It helps the dog survive an imminent threat by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. However, a decrease of blood flow to the intestines and stomach can result in diarrhea in dogs.
Problems with urination
Chronic stress and response to fear can often be the cause of sudden and untimely urination in dogs. The body’s release of stress hormones relaxes the sphincter muscles in the bladder. Besides, this causes the dog to lose control of its bladder. Blood in a dog’s urine at this stage signifies a much bigger underlying medical problem. In such cases, immediate veterinarian intervention would be required.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Haematuria (blood in a dog’s urine)
Urinary tract infection
The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics for urinary tract infections to which dogs usually respond well. Sometimes, the vet may advise a change in your dog’s diet to provide adequate nutrition for optimal health.
In dogs with recurring urinary tract infections, comprehensive diagnostic tests should be conducted. It serves to rule out more serious underlying causes such as Cushing’s disease, congenital problems, tumors, and diabetes. Although, in male dogs, it could be due to prostatic abscesses, cysts, or cancer.
Bladder Stones as the cause of blood in a dog’s urine
Once bladder stones are formed, it can cause painful blockages. This is due to the presence of hard, tiny crystal-like formations in the dog’s urine. It is the cause of extreme pain to the dog when it attempts to urinate. Your dog may also have a swollen, bloated belly and show symptoms of dehydration.
Balanced nutrition plays a crucial role in the prevention of urinary tract infections and bladder stones from forming. Nutritional experts advise wet food, as an alternative to the dry pellets. It helps dilute the dog’s urine by optimizing the pH balance and prevents the formation of new stones.
Kidney or Bladder Infection as the cause of the presence of blood in a dog’s urine
Female dogs mostly experience bladder infections, but male dogs can get infected as well. It is one of the most common causes of Haematuria. Bacterial growth irritates the bladder, kidneys, or urethra (in female dogs). However, the condition clears up relatively quickly when dogs are given a course of antibiotics.
Kidney or Liver disease as the cause of blood in a dog’s urine
The liver and kidneys are sometimes affected by bacteria associated with advanced dental disease. Once it enters the dog’s bloodstream, it attacks various organs. It most often causes permanent damage to the kidneys, liver, and heart. Canine hepatitis is another disease known to infect a dog’s liver. This disease can be prevented with early vaccination.
The treatment includes a wide range of antibiotic medication. Homeopathic herbs and supplements can form part of a holistic approach to the treatment.
Inflammatory diseases that can cause blood in a dog’s urine
Potential causes of inflammation in dogs vary from food allergies, environmental stress, parasites, bacteria, and metabolic diseases. Haemophilia (slow clotting of blood) is an inherited disorder as a result of a spontaneous mutation of a specific gene associated with blood-clotting.
Rat poison contains tick fever or toxins, which can cause Haemophilia, which is the direct cause of a deficiency in the blood-clotting protein called Factor VIII. As a result, hemorrhaging (bleeding) may occur.
There is, unfortunately, no cure for this disorder. Dogs with Haemophilia will require periodic blood transfusions to replace the deficient Factor VIII that promotes blood clotting.
Natural herbs such as Boswellia, Yucca root, Turmeric, Hawthorn, Nettle leaf, Liquorice, Meadowsweet have also brought relief.
Tumors and Bladder Cancer as the cause of blood in a dog’s urine
Often, tumors are benign (non-threatening), especially in older dogs. Even benign tumors can cause Haematuria in dogs. Moreover, benign Prostate enlargement and Prostate Tumors require drastic veterinarian intervention and possibly neutering of male dogs.
Bladder cancer in dogs is termed ‘transitional cell carcinoma’ (TCC). The bladder, kidneys, prostate, and the urinary tract of female dogs are normally affected, resulting in the passing of blood in the dog’s urine. If the cancer is not treated immediately, it can spread to other parts of the dog’s organs like the bones, bowels, and lymph nodes.
The treatment of cancer in dogs consists of Chemotherapy, Radiation, surgery (or any combination). Veterinary medicine has made rapid advancement in the treatment of cancer and now offers immunotherapy or antibody therapy.
How to prevent future urinary problems in your dog
- Regular visits to the veterinary clinic for routine checks help to prevent urinary problems. The vet can test your dog’s urine and can ascertain if your dog is predisposed (genetically) to urinary tract infections.
- It would augur well for dog parents to sometimes monitor their dog’s urinary habits. The reason for this is the early detection of blood in your dog’s urine can prevent much trauma for the dog.
Now that you have gone through the article, you should know all the necessary information about the causes and symptoms of blood in your dog’s urine and also how to prevent it from happening.