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Help! My Dog/Cat Has Blood in their Urine! by Dr. Sarah Martin

Blood in the urine – hematuria – is certainly a sign not to ignore and you should get your furry friend in to see the veterinarian as soon as possible. While most pet owners assume that their pet has a urinary tract infection that may not always be the case. If this happens to your pet PLEASE don’t let them pee before your appointment… we, the vets, WANT THAT PEE! (more on the urine sample at the end…)

Before we even look at the pee there is information we collect that will help us to formulate a differential list -things we need to rule out to ensure we aren’t missing the bigger picture. This may not be an exhaustive list but it would look a little like this:

  1. Cat or dog? Interestingly most young cats have sterile urine (meaning no infection), but they do have blood in the urine and they are not comfortable.
  2. Are they straining frequently? (pollakuria) Is any urine coming out? In most cases the bladder is pretty empty because it is hurting your pet to keep urine in there; hence the accidents, but some show little signs, some pass stones and some can’t fully pee so their bladder is huge (emergency!!)
  3. Boy or girl? Girl dogs are more prone to a urinary tract infection due to a shorter urethra. Boy dogs get ‘uncomplicated’ urinary tract infections far less commonly. Boy cats with blood in their urine are immediately put into a high risk category for blocking (emergency!!! They can’t pee!!)
  4. Young or old? Older cats more frequently have true infections than younger cats. Older animals may have contributing causes, like diabetes or kidney disease.
  5. Is it their first time? Sometimes on initial presentation we want to rule out bladder stones, kidney stones or even a mass in the bladder. We REALLY need to rule these out if it is not their first offence!
  6. Is it a male dog that has not been neutered? Then we need to consider that prostate! If it is a female dog that has not been spayed it could be an infection in the uterus and not coming from her bladder at all.
  7. Is there a problem clotting? Liver failure, low platelets and mouse/rat poison could make them bleed into their bladder.
  8. Is the blood there everytime? Throughout the whole stream or just at the end? Or do they just drip blood?

… I think I could go on and on and I haven’t even discussed results yet!

So you can see that not every presumed urinary tract infection is as simple as it may sound! If you catch a urine sample for us then ideally we like first morning pee (to ensure those kidneys can concentrate well), and caught into a sterile container. While looking at urine under the microscope gives us some information submitting the urine for culture is really the best test to rule-in/rule-out an infection and choose an appropriate antibiotic.

If you find blood in your pet’s urine, please contact Brantford’s Park Road Veterinary Clinic right away. We would love to rule out any of the above.

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