Know the signs of UTIs in pets

Our household has been a mess of pet maladies lately. First, Mabel, our ancient chocolate Lab mix who was found as a stray, started showing signs of a UTI. That’s a urinary tract infection.

According to pets.webmd.com, signs can include:

* Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine

* Bloody or cloudy urine

* Fever

* Loss of bladder control, dribbling urine

* Increased amount and/or frequency of urination

* Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine

* Soiling in inappropriate places

* Constant licking of urinary opening

* Strong odor to the urine

* Lethargy

* Vomiting

* Changes in appetite

* Weight loss

* Severe back pain

* Increased water consumption

Mubel, as we lovingly call her, was exhibiting some of these symptoms, the most prominent being the excessive urination, strong odor, increased water consumption and soiling in inappropriate places.

At first, you can see how these could also be signs for other conditions such as diabetes mellitus.

Our vet wanted to get Mubel on an antibiotic

if a UTI was the diagnosis and there was only one way to find out … a urine sample.

How I was ever going to get this from skittish Mubel was beyond me, but that very day as she headed out to do her business in her most hurriedly of ways, I grabbed an old pan and ran out the door scurrying behind her.

Just as she squatted I slid that pan under her just as slick as could be and got my sample! She didn’t even notice my intrusion on her personal space.

After transferring to a secure container, it was off to the vet’s office with sample in hand.

Mabel did in fact have a pretty severe UTI (poor girl) so I came home with horse pills (a two-week supply of a strong antibiotic). Fortunately, thanks to lots of peanut butter we were able to successfully administer the entire dose.

Her urine has cleared up but the frequency has not slowed down.

It’s going to take a vet visit for the doctor to examine her and do more testing to see if our girl in fact does have another underlying condition such as diabetes. Her old age is not in her favor.

Just as we were finishing up Mabel’s medication, I noticed a dark (bloody) tinge in the upstairs litter box where Katie and Krusher, our 18-year-old sibling kitties reside.

While not one hundred percent sure, my money was on Katie, again, her age and sex were prime for a feline UTI.

We’ve been so fortunate to not have UTI or any issues for that matter with the cats and I was hoping we weren’t starting a new trend.

After consulting with our vet, it was off to her office again for a kitty antibiotic (Clavamox) which is a liquid.

Katie, like all cats, is extremely finicky and I knew it was going to be difficult to administer the meds to her. Luckily, we give her a bowl of wet cat food broth for breakfast and dinner along with her kibble so I slyly mixed the medication in with the broth and held my breath. I couldn’t believe she didn’t mind the taste and lapped the liquid down each morning and evening for two weeks.

After a few days, the dark tinge disappeared and we’re hoping the antibiotic was successful at treating her UTI symptoms.

This morning however, my husband reported a case of diarrhea in the same litter boxes. After checking with my vet again, she did confirm that the antibiotic could easily cause an upset system and a case of the runs.

I’ll give it a day or two before panicking too much but will keep a close eye on the litter since dehydration is a common and dangerous symptom of diarrhea.

So much for a light-hearted, flowery column this week, but I wanted to draw your attention to the symptoms of UTIs and that they can in fact occur, more commonly than you might guess.

Contact your vet right away if your dog or cat start to display any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above or if you just have an uneasy feeling about the way your pet is acting.

Animals are so good at hiding their pain that we often don’t know there’s a problem until it has developed and gotten to a point where we need to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Amy is the author of the new children’s book “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as, “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna

@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.