Hematuria is the medical term for the presence of blood in the urine. It can be visible to the naked eye, the urine is then red, or detectable only by laboratory tests. Very diverse ailments can be responsible, depending on the age and sex of the dog in particular.
Where does the blood in the dog’s urine come from?
Among the causes of hematuria, some can be serious: infection, stones, malformation, trauma, benign tumor, even cancer, are examples.
These causes are generally classified according to the origin of the blood present in the urine. It can come from:
- From the urinary tract itself. Affections of the urinary tract can be localized at different levels:
- ureters: channels that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder
- the bladder
- the urethra: channel bringing urine from the bladder to the outside
- Organs which are not part of the urinary system but which are anatomically close to it (extra-urinary causes). The blood can then come from the prostate in males, the uterus or vagina in females.
- From diseases of the organism as a whole (systemic diseases). In particular, a blood clotting disorder can lead to hematuria.
Depending on the cause of the hematuria, other symptoms are usually associated.
In cases of renal or ureteral origin, the dog may present with fever, an increase in the amount of water drunk, abdominal pain, or even distension of the abdomen.
Bladder disease can be accompanied by difficulty passing urine or a frequent need to pass urine. Likewise if the problem is in the urethra. In the latter case, the dog may also show blood loss outside of the times when he urinates.
In males, prostate disease can also present with fever and abdominal pain. Other symptoms are also possible, such as difficulty in defecating.
In females, blood loss outside of times when the bitch urinates and a fever may signal a condition of the uterus or vagina. An increase in the amount of drink can also occur. It can also simply be the bitch’s normal heat.
If you have a bleeding disorder, the blood does not clot properly. Bleeding is therefore generally also found elsewhere than in the urine: on the skin and mucous membranes (in the mouth or on the conjunctivae of the eye for example), in the stool, in possible vomiting, or even in the nostrils.
The diagnosis is based, first of all, on the history and symptoms: the dog’s age, sex, diet, possible history of accident or trauma, repeated urinary tract infections, etc.
During a consultation, the veterinarian supplements these elements with a clinical examination. It can thus highlight other signs and provide details on the origin of the blood present in the urine. Palpation of the abdomen may, for example, show abdominal pain or the presence of a tumor. A palpation of the prostate makes it possible to evaluate its size and appearance.
Depending on these different elements, the veterinarian may have to make additional examinations to determine the origin of the blood in the urine:
- Urinalysis and urine tests: Taking a urine dipstick may show the presence of other abnormal cells or compounds in the urine. Centrifugation of the urine also makes it possible to see in what quantity the blood is present, and possibly to find the presence of urinary crystals.
- Blood test with haematological and / or biochemical analysis: these elements can detect signs of infection, anemia, coagulation disorders or even kidney failure.
- X-rays and ultrasound can show the presence of a tumor or stones.
- If a tumor is present, performing a biopsy can help determine whether or not it is cancerous.
Treatment for blood in the urine in dogs
It depends, of course, on the origin of the hematuria and therefore on the diagnosis. Several types of treatments can be offered:
- Medical treatment: in the event of infection, antibiotics, whether or not associated with anti-inflammatory drugs, are generally used. In some cases, infusion therapy is necessary if the animal has dehydration or renal failure.
- Dietetic treatment: a specific diet may be prescribed in cases of kidney failure or urinary stones to prevent recurrence.
- Surgical treatment: It may be necessary, for example to remove large stones from the bladder, to repair lesions caused by trauma or to remove a tumor. In the event of cancer, treatment with chemotherapy may also be considered.
For bleeding disorders, further tests will probably be necessary to determine the cause and find the appropriate treatment.
The prognosis of course depends on the origin of the blood in the urine and the general state of health of the dog. In any case, this symptom is abnormal and should encourage you to see a veterinarian.