Pekingese Urinary Tract infections: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are quite common in dogs, affecting more females than males due to their shorter urinary tract. As with humans, UTI’s are extremely uncomfortable, if not down right painful, and if they aren’t treated promptly they can become serious, infecting other organs such as the kidneys.
Infection can infect just one area, such as the urethra (where urine passes through), or it can affect multiple areas such as the bladder(cystitis), kidneys, and, in males, the prostate gland. Typically symptoms occur early in the infection when just the urethra and bladder are involved.
Anatomy of a Dog’s Urinary Tract
* The Readers Digest Illustrated Book of Dogs, revised edition 1989.
Urinary Tract Infection Causes:
The urinary tract is typically a sterile environment. Urinary tract infections most often occur when bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract via the urethra (e. coli is a common culprit) and begins to spread. Under normal conditions, the immune system responds to this type of invasion and infection does not develop. However, if your Pekingese has a compromised immune system due to stress, old age, or has another illness/condition making him/her predisposed to UTI’s (kidney disease, Cushings disease, diabetes, bladder stones), his/her body may not be able to fight off the bacteria and as a result a UTI can occur.
Females are more likely to have urinary tract infections simply because their urethra is much shorter than a male dogs. Therefore, the bacteria is able to make it to the bladder faster due to the shorter distance it takes for it to travel.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Frequent urination in small amounts
- Painful urination, or obvious discomfort
- Having “accidents”, being unable to hold urine
- Straining when urinating
- Excessive thirst
How is a UTI Diagnosed
Typically your veterinarian will diagnose your Pekingese as having a UTI if she is experiencing the symptoms above if it is her first urinary tract infection. Usually a urinalysis is needed to confirm it, but oftentimes, due to frequent urination, there is not enough urine in the bladder to get a sample so an observation of symptoms is oftentimes enough. Your vet will also perform a physical examination, palpitating the bladder and examining the genitalia. If this is not your dogs first bout with a urinary tract infection, further tests may be performed to rule out any underlying condition.
Treating a Urinary Tract Infection:
A UTI is a bacterial infection, therefore, if must be treated with antibiotics. If this is your dogs first UTI, your vet will most likely give your dog a shot of antibiotics and send you home with an antibiotic to be taken by mouth, with food, over the course of two weeks, depending on the drug. If this is not your dogs first UTI, resistance to the antibiotic may be the cause and your vet may switch your dog to a more powerful antibiotic.
Recurring Urinary Tract Infections:
Unfortunately UTI’s can come back.
This can happen when the bacteria has become resistant to the antibiotic that was prescribed or when the full course of treatment is not finished. If the medication prescribed is not taken for the full length of time, some of the bacteria may remain, causing the infection to recur. Ironically, not giving your dog all of her medication can promote the development of resistance to the medication making it harder to treat. Therefore, it is extremely important, that if your dog is prescribed an antibiotic, that you finish all of the pills in order to prevent recurrence and bacterial resistance.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infection in Pekingese Dogs
Always provide your dog with plenty of clean water. If she is not a big “drinker” add water to her food. Water will help fill her bladder which will help flush out the bacteria. Take her out at least twice a day. If there is bacteria in her urinary tract you don’t want it to linger.
Groom her regularly and keep that area clean. Pekingese dogs have lots of fur surrounding their anus, urinary tract, and genitalia. Oftentimes fecal matter, which contains bacteria that can cause UTI’s, gets stuck in this fur and if she is not properly wiped clean the bacteria can easily make it’s way to her urinary tract by licking. Therefore, I recommend keeping the hair below trimmed short. And although it is unnecessary to bath her more frequently, it is important to keep that area clean on a daily basis, just as you would yourself when you use the bathroom. This can be done using a baby wipe, or an antibacterial wipe made for sensitive skin.
Most importantly, if you suspect that your Peke has a urinary tract infection you should take her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.