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Poodle UTI

Poodle Question: My 10 week old Poodle puppy (A toy Poodle) started having trouble urinating. She started on an antibiotic and is now able to go again. Some people told me toy Poodles should be trained to go inside or they can get a UTI. I had her housebroken going outside, but people said since toy Poodles are so low to the ground it is best to house train them for inside. What is your experience and what method would you recommend. Thank you, Karen

Hi Karen, While the people who told you this probably had good intentions, it is not true that a Poodle will develop UTI by going to the bathroom outside. However, bowel movements are often connected to this issue.

A UTI (Urinary tract infection) can happen to both female and male dogs, however are much more common with females. UTI's can be categorized into two groups: simple and complicated. Each are caused by different reasons.

Since our pets can develop re-occuring infections, it will be important to take steps to try and prevent your Poodle from developing this in the future. 
We'll cover what a UTI is, how dogs develop them, common signs, treatment and prevention.

What a UTI is 

UTI, acronym is an acronym for Urinary tract infection. This infection affects both cats and dogs and as stated, will be more common with females due to anatomy.

How Dogs Catch UTI's 

The most common cause of a UTI is the travel of bacteria from outside the body into the urethral opening. It travels up and into the bladder. There are a handful of different bacteria that can be involved, though over 50% of the time it will be E. coli, Staphylococcus, or Proteus. Other less common bacteria include Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and Corynebacterium. 

The #1 way that a dog will develop a UTI from one of the above mentioned bacteria is when fecal matter travels from the anal opening to the vulva. Since these body parts are very close together on female dogs, this is most likely how your Poodle caught the UTI. Therefore, it did not have anything to do with where she went to the bathroom; and she could have caught it regardless of whether she was indoors or outside. 

Other more complicated (and much rarer) reasons for catching a urinary tract infection would be due to another more serious issue. This includes kidney or bladder stones, some sorts of debris that is trapped in the urinary tract (pieces of grass, etc.), diabetes, bladder tumors and bladder cancer. 

Signs and Symptoms of a UTI with a Poodle

Dogs may have one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Signs of blood in the urine (the pee will be tinted pink)
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Having urination accidents in the home
  • Excessive licking of the vulva
  • Cloudy urine
  • Urine has a bad odor
  • Signs of discomfort while peeing
How this is Diagnosed

If you suspect that your Poodle has a UTI, it will be important to have him or her checked out by the veterinarian as soon as possible. Left untreated, the infection may spread upward to the kidneys. 

The following tests should be performed: 
  • Urinalysis - Your may be asked to bring in a sample in a sterilized container or the veterinarian may opt for a more reliable method called cystocentesis. With this, a small sterilized needle is inserted into abdomen and into the bladder to collect a sample. 
  • Blood tests (CBC)- A complete blood count will be to check for any possible health conditions that may have caused the infection if it was not caused by simple bacteria.
  • X-rays - This also is an extra measure to check for bladder and kidney stones and other possible issues. 

If the only issue is a UTI, the most common treatment is a course of antibiotics. An important step in the treatment plan will be to re-check the urine again in 3 to 5 days. This will be to access if the medicine and dosing is working to combat the bacteria. If not, changes will be made so that the infection is effectively eradicated. 

How to Prevent UTI with a Poodle 

There are a number of things that you can do to helping preventing a recurrence. while these will not guarantee that an other UTI will not develop it can certainly help.

1) It is not uncommon for fecal matter (and thus bacteria) to cling to hairs after a bowel movement. To help prevent this, some owners opt to shave the coat around the anal opening for hygiene reasons. Alternatively, you may want to inspect the area after a bathroom trip and if there are specks of stool, this can be wiped away with canine wipe or even a baby wipe. It is important to wipe away from the vulva, as wiping toward it will only move bacteria closer to the urethral opening and possibly cause another UTI. 

2) If a Poodle is pr one to UTI's, having the dog drink cranberry juice 3 times per week can help keep infections at bay. Be sure to offer real cranberry juice and not a flavored drink. While most Poodles will like the sweet taste, you can always water it down if your dog does not care for it.

3) Holding in urine for too long of a time can contribute to UTI's since urine contains bacteria and the bladder is responsible for holding the urine until it is expelled. Be sure to allow your Poodle to drink a lot and to urinate many times throughout the day. 

4) Clean both water and food bowls at least once per day with hot water and dish soap. Plastic bowls can harbor bacteria easily; stainless steel dishes are best.
Other Questions:
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