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Dog Bladder Infection

 Reviewed 16 April 2020 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto
Bladder Infection (Cystitis) or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) describes the condition that harmful bacteria found their way from outside the urinary opening into the bladder (and soon thereafter to the kidneys).

The bacteria lead to an infection, to disease.

MyGermanShepherd Health ManualOther sources of Bladder Infection are ingesting stale food or infested water, or stones or a tumor in the bladder.

Bladder Infection often becomes chronic unless dealt with right, see below.

Who Suffers Bladder Infections

All dogs can get several Bladder Infections during their lifetime if you don't make use of the avoidance measures below.

However, generally female dogs are far more susceptible to Bladder Infection than male dogs, older dogs more than younger ones, and unaltered dogs more than (clean!) neutered or spayed dogs.

In addition, the later you have your dog neutered or spayed, the more susceptible the dog will be to Bladder Infections - as well as to other diseases and disorders too.

There is no evidence for a German Shepherd susceptibility to Bladder Infections: The largest GSD study of its kind, Dan O'Neill's analysis of VetCompass data, reviewed all 263 conditions distinctly recorded by veterinarians in primary care in the UK, and yet UTI is not one of them.

Therefore the seemingly many reported cases of German Shepherd Bladder Infection or German Shepherd UTI seem simply be due to the fact that there are so many German Shepherds, compared to other breeds. wink

Warning Signs

Typical warning signs of a Bladder Infection are:

  • Sudden excessive water consumption (same weather and exercise level)
  • Strain when urinating and/or urinating only small amounts at a time
  • Urinating at unusual times or with unusual frequency (more often or less often)
  • Urinating in inappropriate places
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue, listlessness, and lethargy
  • Fever
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Tender lower stomach area

If you notice several concurrent symptoms of these, make an appointment with a quality veterinarian.

While if your dog seems to lose the ability to relieve, you must make an emergency visit to the vet, or the dog could die within hours!

Preventing Bladder Infections

The following measures can help to prevent Bladder Infections:

  • Make sure that your dog is drinking ample amounts of fresh water each day, in hot or cold weather!
  • Ideally, take your dog out to urinate after a maximum of three hours (a puppy until 6 months of age after 60 minutes) to prevent the build-up of bacteria in the bladder.
  • At night, when the metabolism is down, after a maximum of six hours can be sufficient
  • Allow for sufficient varied exercise. For a German Shepherd at least 2 to 3 hours varied outdoor exercise each day - this will also help to stimulate the bladder
  • Avoid that your dog is wading through or even swimming in standing waters that may be infested with bacteria - even a slow-flowing river is safer than a pond
  • Take your dog under an outdoor shower after exercise, play, or walk in the countryside, after swimming, etc: As a rule, if any fluid or substance reached the lowest body opening, a more intensive shower is required
  • Use a pH-neutral natural dog shampoo, and carefully apply this in circular movements, sparing all body openings incl. the eyes and ears
  • At the end, clean the bladder exit (and also the anal area, but with a separate washcloth), and finally apply a strong antiseptic spray around both body exits, using a new piece of washcloth each time
  • Don't bathe your dog too often, a quick weekly shower is much better, time-wise too.

Note that even IF you go to that length(?) and adhere to all these avoidance measures, there is no 100% guarantee to prevent Bladder Infections altogether: read again above, the "Other sources of Bladder Infection" you cannot prevent.

However, number 1 and 2 alone seem to avoid over 90% of all conditions of Bladder Infections. So ensuring that the dog always gets to drink a lot and relieve frequently to flush out bacteria and toxins goes a long way to prevent UTI.

my-german-shepherd-has-no-bladder-infectionsDo I myself do all the above with My German Shepherd?

Of course I don't, no. Personally I am not concerned about UTI for My German Shepherd because:

  1. the dog is unlikely to get (m)any infections of any kind in life: the immune system is in top form because
    1. I feed REAL foods only
    2. and I never give steroidal or non-steroidal drugs
    3. and I only vaccinated him once at the right time and when he was healthy after a titer showed that he had no antibodies for the particular virus (Parvo and Distemper).
  2. Miguel is a male dog - though with females I've had no issues either
  3. and the dog got neutered as a puppy, as is healthiest despite what you read on all those modern for-the-money "blogs". lol

These few basic health rules that I have in place have in all those decades prevented Urinary Tract Infections - and other infections too for that matter.

Treating Bladder Infections

First note that an otherwise healthy dog certainly has the capability to self-heal a Bladder Infection - provided that you give the right, natural assistance as described above.

Conversely, antibiotics actually make things worse: antibiotics indiscriminately kill the beneficial bacteria too, and make further UTIs in the future much more likely!

In fact, this is why UTIs often are reported as chronic.

Essential is that you first identify the cause of a Bladder Infection:

If the dog did not ingest stale food or infested water then the cause almost certainly is an overall weak immune system from insufficient nutritional value to the body cells (read: dog is on "dog food").

Because stones or a tumor in the bladder are comparatively very rare indeed.

However if the dog hasn't had any skin issues or other conditions at all, then the immune system is not weak and I would look further for the cause of the UTI.

Once you know the cause, the right treatment can begin.

Again: Do not give in to your vet who likely will argue hard in favor of using antibiotics!

Besides that antibiotics are known to be widely INeffective to treat Bladder Infections.

Conversely, UNsugared cranberry juice or cranberry extract have helped many dogs indeed.

But again, note that this remedy too only addresses the symptoms of UTI, it does not help to cure the cause of UTI.



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