If your pet dog or cat is having "accidents" in the house, urinating more frequently or straining to urinate, has discolored or bloody urine, the most common cause is a urinary tract infection.

Urinary tract infections in pets most often involve the bladder which is called cystitis. Cystitis usually results from an ascending bacterial infection from the vulvar or penile areas or from primary bacterial overgrowth in the bladder. A more serious, life-threatening condition is a kidney infection or pyelonephritis. It is important for you to seek medical attention for your dog or cat, so that your veterinarian may distinguish between these two diseases.

The diagnosis of a urinary tract infection in a pet is based on:

  • Clinical Signs – such as frequent or abnormal urination and bloody urine.
  • Urinalysis – to determine kidney status and analyze the cells in the urine.
  • Urine Culture and Sensitivity – to determine the exact pathogen responsible for the infection and which antibiotics will be effective.
  • Bladder X-rays – to search for bladder stones, tumors or other causes for chronic infections and/or cystitis.

It is important to have your pet treated promptly to reduce the risk of the infection spreading to the kidneys. In male cats, straining or the inability to urinate is a life-threatening condition often caused by a blockage called urethral obstruction. If the blockage is not removed, the bladder may rupture and the pet will die. If your male cat is constantly going to the litter box and not producing urine, crying out or exhibiting pain in the stomach region, do not delay. Seconds count in this situation.