Veterinary-Approved Supplements for Urinary Tract (Bladder) Infections in Dogs and Cats
Many cats and dogs have chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). As soon as the dog or cat finishes a round of antibiotics, a few days later, the symptoms return. Signs your pet may have a urinary infection (bladder infection) include frequent urination, straining during urination, mucus or blood with urination, licking the genitals, "accidents" or urinating in unusual places (even right in front of you), excessive drinking and crying or meowing. Sometimes the signs of a bladder infection may be very subtle and the only clue is that your pet just isn't acting like him or herself.
There are many reasons why pets can get chronic bladder infections (UTIs): stress, weakened immune system, viruses, genital anatomical issues, bladder or prostate cancer and/or underlying kidney problems. In addition, an often overlooked contributor is inflammation due to the pet's diet. Too many carbohydrates in the diet and/or food allergies can be a big contributor to chronic UTIs. Whatever the reason your pet is getting chronic bladder infections, a comprehensive approach is needed.
Urinary tract infections can become a chronic problem. This can occur because even if the infection is temporarily stopped with antibiotics, the underlying tissue is still inflamed. Many times, the affected area remains inflamed and creates an environment where bacteria can hide within bladder walls....(aka interstitial cystitis). Furthermore, antibiotics can disrupt the intestinal flora and good bacteria which are needed to fight off infections. Many people report that they can actually tell that their cat or dog starts to get another urinary tract infection just days after finishing the antibiotic. While the antibiotic helps fight off the infection, the underlying conditions that contributed to the pet's urinary tract infection in the first place are still present.
Diet is often a critical factor with cats and dogs that get chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). Allergies for one can cause a great deal of inflammation and lower the pet's immune response. Diets too high in carbohydrates break down into sugar and can also contribute to yeast overgrowth. Wheat and grains, for example can be high allergen foods and also contribute to yeast growth. Also, kibble and/or dry food can be problematic for both cats and dogs because of its low moisture content. Even if the protein source is “hypoallergenic” , the pet food may be high in
carbohydrates which can also contribute to chronic infections. Just like
with humans, carbohydrates break down into sugars which can feed the
infections. There is no “one” hypoallergenic diet that works for all pets. For best results, scheduling a telephone or inperson appointment with us or another veterinary professional will ensure your pet gets on the right track once and for all.
Nutritional supplements can greatly help reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections and many times, in combination with diet changes, can eliminate them completely. Be sure to talk in depth with your veterinarian to understand the issues associated with your pet's urinary infections. For example, are there crystals present, very high pH or is the urine pH acidic? Supplements can improve the pH of the urine, reduce the likelihood of bacteria clinging to the bladder wall, help the pet's overall immune system and flush out toxins that can contribute to stone and crystal growth.
Chronic UTIs can also lead to Interstitial Cystitis. Interstitial Cystitis is a condition in which the bladder wall becomes inflamed and may even hemorrhage. No sooner do you finish a round of antibiotics, your pet starts showing the common “signs” of discomfort which can include frequent urination, straining to urinate, waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, arching the back, urinating outside the litter box and/or blood in the urine. Some pets that are normally housetrained may have accidents or urinate right in front of you because they can’t hold their urine. Some may develop urinary incontinence on a regular basis.
With interstitial cystitis, there may be an infection or the “start of infection” and sometimes there may be no infection at all. With chronic UTIs and interstitial cystitis, there may be bleeding in the urine which can be caused by a variety of factors such as bladder stones, crystal plugs, kidney disease, stress and/or a congenital defect. Regardless, your pet’s bladder and urinary system may have a great deal of inflammation and quite possibly infection which can become very hard to treat and very uncomfortable for your pet.
Conventional veterinary treatments for interstitial cystitis and chronic urinary tract infections involve the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Depending upon the other factors that may be involved, your veterinarian may also recommend that your pet be on a special diet that controls the pH of your pet’s urine. Stones, crystals and infections tend to develop depending upon the urinary pH. For example, if your pet’s urine is highly alkaline (pH is 8 or more), there is a possibility that struvite crystals form or that your pet may have urinary tract infection. Having a high urinary pH does not necessarily mean that your pet has an infection. Urinary pH can vary throughout the day as your pet eats, exercises, etc. A normal urinary neutral pH is between 6.5 and 7.0. Consistently high or low urinary pH could be a problem and it is recommended, if possible, that you learn to check your pet’s urine at home using pH testing paper. This will provide valuable information for your veterinarian.
Can holistic care help with interstitial cystitis and chronic urinary tract infections? Absolutely. Holistic care should not be a replacement for conventional veterinary care but rather an extension of it. Holistic care offers you more choices and treatment options to help your pet but it is important to work with your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s progress using laboratory tests and even in-home periodic pH urinary test strips that you do yourself.
Improve Communication With Your Pet- Once a pet has had a UTI, they experience pain when urinating. Cats, for example, may associate this pain with their litter boxes and could be urinating outside the box because they are associating the litter box with pain. Provide many litter boxes and clean them daily. Dogs may have “accidents” in the house either due to incontinence, pain or as a way to communicate with you so you are aware of their discomfort. Watch the signs are be aware that accidents may have a medical not just behavioral cause. For cats especially, stress factors can be a trigger that contribute to chronic urinary tract infections and/or feline interstitial cystitis. It is hard to know exactly what might be contributing to your kitty’s stress and it might be factors beyond your control such as the neighbor’s barking dog or having guests in your home. But, it could be another cat in your household or feeding issues so try to identify any sources of stress that you can control. If necessary, feed your cats separately or keep them in separate rooms while you are away. Some cats are bored and frustrated with a sedentary lifestyle and/or being indoors. Try playing with your cat and/or taking them outside in a controlled fashion (some owners use a leash) to stimulate their predatory instincts. If your cat is stressed or has anxiety, Psystabil can be very helpful.
Urinary Incontinence in Dogs---Urinary incontinence in dogs can occur due to hormonal changes, structural problems or more subtly due to a low grade, chronic urinary infection in the urethra. Many times, the dog's urine analysis may be normal but a culture may reveal a slight hidden infection. A female dog may have a yellowish or clear discharge in the vaginal area. Many times, holistic treatments for urinary incontinence can resolve the incontinence. You need to give your dog supplements such as Pet UTI, Power Probiotic and Notatum to control the bladder infection. Renelix and Rehmannia 8 will help with the incontinence in your dog.
The following signs can be symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections in dogs and cats. Be sure to check with your veterinarian if your pet is displaying these symptoms:
- Straining to urinate
- Waking up in the night to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Excessive licking at the genital area
- Frequent urination
- Excessive water drinking