You’ve noticed blood in your dog’s urine and now you’re worried crazy?
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon and can happen to every dog at any age and many possible reasons could be behind it.
We’ll explore the causes and treatments in this article and help you deal with this problem!
First of all, let’s get familiar with one medical term associated with this problem. As you’ve maybe noticed, when you type blood in urine the term hematuria often pops up. Let’s clear out what that means before we start digging deeper!
What Is Hematuria?
Hematuria is a medical term that equals blood in the urine. Simple as that!
Hematuria can indicate various causes, and unfortunately, some are very serious. We’re taking a look at these different causes later in this text.
Age can be a good indicator of the cause to start with. Young dogs with blood in the urine are more prone to certain conditions. Same goes for older dogs.
Even though hematuria can appear at any age, if a dog suffers from it at an early age it’s probably familial hematuria (hematuria that runs in the family) as it’s the most common cause with young dogs. When it comes to older dogs, blood in urine usually indicates cancer.
Another indicator that can help in determining the cause is the gender. Namely, female dogs are more prone to urinary tract infections so if your female dog has other symptoms, apart from blood in urine, it’s possible that bladder problems are behind it.
Possible Causes Behind Blood In Urine
As mentioned, blood in urine isn’t the consequence of one reason only. It can indicate many different things, so let’s take a closer look, one by one!
Bladder or Kidney Infection
Blood in the urine is one of the symptoms of bladder infections or kidney infections which can be really painful at times.
Dogs that are infected will have the urge to pee all the time, even if very little or nothing comes out. When they do pee, blood is present as well.
Bladder stones can be painful as well and the symptoms are quite similar to the ones of bladder infection. One of the symptoms is blood in urine, as the presence of stones drain the bladder.
If your dog has ingested something toxic it will cause some problems, one of them being blood in urine. You will be able to recognize poisoning by looking for other signs, such as lethargy, coughing, swollen abdomen and difficulties in breathing.
Urinary Tract Infection
One of the main signs of UTI is blood in your dog’s urine. As mentioned, female dogs are more prone to them than male dogs.
These infections can be very painful, so if you notice that your dog is straining from peeing and crying from pain when doing so it’s possible that this is the cause. Other symptoms are frequent urination, vomiting, fever and constant licking of the urinary opening.
Physical injuries can lead to blood in urine as well. If your dog was hurt recently and blood comes out of the urine, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible.
Another cause behind blood in urine can be a prostate problem. Apart from having problems with urination and decreased urine stream, blood in urine is a sign as well.
When female dogs are entering the breeding season, when they’re in heat in other words, they bleed. The blood doesn’t come from the urine, but it can sometimes be confused with it.
In order to make sure that it’s estrus blood and not blood in urine look out for other signs of heat. Some signs are that she hasn’t been spayed, a swollen vulva and drops of blood that are left behind when sitting down.
How Do I Determine The Cause?
Even though you can look up the symptoms yourself, it’s necessary that you take your dog to the vet in order to get a proper diagnosis. When you do, make sure to tell about all the symptoms you’ve noticed, as well as possible injuries or new foods your dog has never had before.
Once there, your veterinarian will conduct a detailed physical examination and look for abnormalities like swellings or growths. A blood count will detect if the red and white blood cell level is normal or not. When it comes to detecting the levels of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, liver enzymes etc. a chemical blood profile will be used.
Another important tool when determining the cause is the urinalysis. It serves for testing the pH level and analyzing mineral content, the presence of red blood cells, hemoglobin and glucose and protein levels. High concentration of minerals could be indicating crystals or stones so the urine will be examined more under a microscope.
When it comes to your dog’s genital health, a vaginoscopy or cystoscopy could be used in order to examine your dog’s health. The vet could also ask for an ejaculate sample from your male dog if he or she’s suspecting some prostatic disease.
If your vet is suspecting a tumor, an ultrasound or X-Ray will be ordered to establish if a tumor exists and what kind it is. Sometimes a biopsy is required when deciding if a tumor is benign or malignant.
How Is Blood In Urine Treated?
As you know by now, there could be many different causes behind blood in urine. The treatment can vary a lot from cause to cause, so it’s very important to be sure of the reason behind it before you start a treatment. As always, consult your vet and don’t start any treatments on your own.
1. Cause: Infections
When it comes to bladder, kidney, UTI and other infections antibiotics are the way to go. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics depending on your dog’s medical history and on the location of the infection.
2. Cause: Stones
Treatment: Change in diet/removal of the stones
Bladder and kidney stones can be treated by reducing the protein, phosphorus and magnesium in your dog’s diet and increasing the water intake. In more severe cases of stones, nonsurgical or surgical actions are required to remove them.
3. Cause: Poisoning
Treatment: Depending on the substance
For instance, if it’s vitamin D poisoning you’re dealing with, your dog will have to remain on an IV until electrolyte, calcium and phosphorus levels are stabilized.
4. Cause: Prostate
Treatment: Antibiotics, neutering or cyst removal
Depending on what prostate problem your dog is dealing with, the treatment will be determined appropriately. For bacterial infections, your vet will prescribe aggressive antibiotics. When it comes to problems like testicular tumors neutering is often the only thing necessary as neutered dogs don’t get affected.
Hematuria, blood in urine in other words, can affect any dog at any age and can indicate a lot of different health problems. Even though not all problems are equally serious, it’s very important not to ignore the signs when you see blood in the urine and take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Once your vet has come to a conclusion and diagnosed your dog you can start the treatment plan. Some are faster and easier, some are more drastic and require more time and money. However, whatever the cause and treatment may be, it’s important to put your dog first and to do everything you can in order to deal with this common problem.