Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) In Bulldogs

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Some bulldog owners view cystitis and UTI as one of the same. While bulldog and French bulldog UTIs could lead to cystitis, it’s important to note that not all instances of cystitis are a result of UTIs.

Bulldog Urinary Tract ANATOMY & FUNCTION

Urine formation in your bulldog’s body is a result of the blood filtration process.

BLOOD CIRCULATION (Step 1):

A network of blood vessels circulates throughout your bulldog’s body, delivering essential oxygen and nutrients while collecting waste products.

BULLDOG KIDENY (Step 2):

The paired organs, the kidneys, serve as filters. They efficiently remove waste products and excess fluids from the blood. These waste products and fluids then combine with water to form urine.

BULLDOG URETER (Step 4):

Two slender tubes, known as ureters, transport the newly formed urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

BULLDOG BLADDER (Step 5):

The bladder is a muscular sac responsible for storing urine until it reaches a specific volume and pressure. This triggers the urge to urinate.

BULLDOG UREHTERA (Step 6):

The urethra, a tube, facilitates the exit of urine from the body during the act of urination. It serves as the final pathway for the expulsion of urine from the bulldog’s system.

Bulldog and French Bulldog UTI :

A urinary tract infection (UTI) usually results from bacteria entering the urethra and progressing into the bladder, causing infection.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can impact any segment of the urinary tract, encompassing the kidneys (pyelonephritis), ureters, bladder, and urethra.

Typically initiated by bacteria traveling up the urethra and entering the bladder or kidneys, UTIs manifest with varying symptoms contingent on the infection’s location.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Bulldogs / CAUSE:

Most UTIs are due to ascending bacteria infection vaginally and up the urinary tract

1. BULLDOG KIDNEY PYELONEPHRITIS:

When a Bulldog develops a urinary tract infection (UTI), it can affect various parts of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, a condition known as Bulldog pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidneys and can be a serious complication of a UTI.

bulldog kideny and ureteral stone blockage

2. UTI AND BULLDOG URINARY STONES

Urinary stones such as struvite (triple phosphate) stones often develop secondary to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Conversely, the presence of urinary stones can influence factors such as urine pH, disrupt normal urine voiding, and affect the integrity of the mucosa and bladder wall.

bladder stone in bulldogs

3. OBESITY AND BULLDOG UTI

Poor diet and obesity are significant contributors to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in bulldogs. These factors can lead to a weakened immune system, making it easier for infections to take hold. Additionally, obesity can cause physical changes that affect the bladder and urinary system, further increasing the risk of UTIs

obese overweight bulldog

4. BULLDOG NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER AND UTI

Both bulldogs and French bulldogs are prone to several neurological disorders that can impact their ability to urinate properly, potentially leading to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The most prevalent of these conditions include:

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): This condition involves the bulging or herniation of discs between the vertebrae, which can press on the spinal cord and nerves, affecting the dog’s control over urination.
  • Spondylosis: is a degenerative disorder that affects the spinal vertebrae and may lead to bone spurs that can press on nerves related to bladder control.
  • Vertebral Malformation: Any congenital or acquired deformity in the spine, such as spinal Bifida can lead to nerve damage or compression, impacting a dog’s ability to urinate normally.

spondylosis arthritis of the vertebra in bulldogs

5. CONGENITAL ABNORMALITIES AND BULLDOG UTI

Inborn abnormalities, such as ectopic ureters, where one or both ureters bypass the bladder and directly connect to the urethra or vagina, along with other conditions that cause urinary incontinence or urine pooling in the bladder, significantly increase the risk of persistent or chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs).

bulldog ectopic ureter surgery repair

6. BULLDOG UTI DUE TO HORMONAL DISEASE

Endocrine diseases play a significant role in predisposing pets to persistent urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to their systemic effects, particularly on the immune system and metabolism. The most common endocrine disorders associated with an increased risk of UTIs include:

  1. Cushing’s Syndrome: leads to immune suppression
  2. Hypothyroid
  3. Diabetes Mellitus: High blood sugar levels can lead to glucose in the urine, which provides a favorable environment for bacterial growth.

7. UTI DUE TO MEDICATION AND DRUGS

Prescription medications, while essential for treating various conditions, can sometimes increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) if not used appropriately or due to their inherent side effects. Examples include:

  1. Antibiotic Misuse: The incorrect use of antibiotics, such as using the wrong type, administering the wrong dosage, or not following through the entire prescribed duration, can lead to several issues. It may not fully eradicate the infection, leading to a recurrence or development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Additionally, inappropriate antibiotic use can disrupt the natural microbiome balance, reducing the number of beneficial bacteria and making the urinary tract more susceptible to infection.
  2. Steroids and Chemotherapy: These treatments have immunosuppressive effects, meaning they can weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections, including UTIs. Steroids can reduce inflammation but at the cost of dampening the immune response. Chemotherapy, aimed at killing cancer cells, also affects rapidly dividing cells of the immune system, thereby decreasing the body’s defense mechanisms. Both treatments can alter the normal microbiome and affect the integrity of the bladder wall, further increasing the risk of urinary tract infections.

8. BULLDOG UTI DUE TO SKINFOLD DERMATITIS

Ascending infection from bulldog vaginal folds infectious dermatitis and hood vulva that harbor pathogens is a common cause of persistent and recurrent urinary tract infection

Urinary Tract Infection in Bulldogs / SYMPTOMS:

Symptoms might slightly vary based on the infection location. Infectious cystitis pertains to the bladder, while urinary tract infection (UTI) can affect the entire urinary tract, extending to the kidneys (bulldog pyelonephritis).

BULLDOG KIDNEY INFECTION SYMPTOMS

Symptoms may include:

  • fever and chills
  • flank pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • bloody urine

 BULLDOG BLADDER INFECTION SYMPTOMS:

Bulldogs suffering from this infection will often present with:

  • PAIN & DISCOMFORT: Bulldog cystitis can exhibit various degrees of pain and discomfort, often while urinating.
  • HEMATURIA (blood in urine): Your French or English bulldog puppy may present with discolored red urine due to injury to the kidney, bladder wall, or urethra.
  • SMELLY URINE: Your bulldog might present with urine that has a strange odor, often due to a bacterial infection
  • DISCOLORATION: dark, bloody, and cloudy appearance
  • PAINFUL STRAINING: Your bulldog may be squatting and straining while attempting to urinate, failing to produce more than a small amount of urine
  • FREQUENT SQUATTING: showing an increased frequency in their urge to urinate.
  • VOLUME: small amounts with each void but usually frequent
  • ACCIDENTS: inappropriate urination

Bulldog UTI-LIKE Symptoms Warning

Distinguishing between urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other medical conditions that mimic UTI symptoms is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment in bulldogs.

Examples are

  • BACTERIAL PROSTATITIS: An infection of the prostate. In male bulldogs, bacterial prostatitis can cause similar urinary symptoms as UTIs due to the proximity of the prostate gland to the urinary tract.
  • PYOMETRA & METERITIS: Infection of the uterus, in female bulldogs, might resemble cystitis because of the uterus’ anatomical proximity to the bladder.

Both conditions can present similarly to recurrent cystitis and may exhibit symptoms like hematuria (bloody urination), straining to urinate, and frequent urination. Differentiating between those conditions requires proper diagnostic testing and evaluation.

bulldog-uterine-infection-pyometra

UTI in Bulldogs DIAGNOSTIC TEST:

  1. Urine analysis:
    • urine ph
    • WBC
    • RBC,
    • Crystals
    • Proteins
    • etc

cloudily infected urine

  1.  Blood test
    • kidney function
    • sugar
    • blood count
    • thyroid levels
    • etc
  2. Imaging:
    • Radiographs
    • Ultrasound
    • Excretory urography (with or without a pneumocystogram): this intravenous dye contrast study “lights up” the kidneys and ureters while the pneumocystogram adds air to the bladder. It is very helpful in documenting pyelonephritis and is also of benefit in some cases as it helps detect stones in the urinary tract, and may identify other abnormalities, such as ectopic ureters

bulldog bladder stone radiograph

  1. Urine culture and sensitivity testing: play a crucial role in identifying the precise pathogen causing a urinary tract infection (UTI) and determining which antibiotics are effective in eradicating it.

UTI in Bulldogs and French Bulldog PREVENTION:

Outlined are some key strategies for preventing urinary tract infection

  1. Lean Weight: Maintain a healthy weight through a proper diet and exercise to alleviate pressure on the bladder, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.
  2. Proper Hydration: Encourage frequent urination by providing readily available, fresh water. Enhance appeal with ice cubes or broth.
  3. Quality Diet: Opt for a high-quality diet rich in moisture and essential nutrients. Consult your veterinarian for tailored recommendations.
  4. Regular veterinary checkups and urine tests are necessary for the early detection of UTIs and for monitoring bladder health.
  5. Avoid Harsh Detergents: Refrain from harsh detergents when cleaning the vaginal area, opting for gentle alternatives.
  6. Sufficient Urination Opportunities: Ensure convenient urination options such as doggy doors or regular pee walks to maintain bladder health.
  7. Boost the Immune System:

V4B Immune therapeutic supplement french Bulldog puppy

  1. Stress-Free Environment and Playtime: Provide a stress-free environment with ample playtime and affection, promoting overall well-being.

Bulldog hemp relax

  1. Regularly clean and dry deep skin folds; maintain hygiene around the vulva to prevent moisture buildup and bacterial growth.
    • V4B Bully Skin-fold Wipe
    • V4B Bully Skin-fold Lotion

Bully skinfold Wipe & Lotion Bundle wellness

  1. Cranberry Urinary Therapeutic Supplements:
    • V4B Bully Urinary Health Formula: can help prevent multidrug resistance bacteria biofilm

These strategies encompass a holistic approach to preventive care, promoting the well-being of bulldogs and minimizing the risk of urinary tract issues.

Eng Bulldog V4B Urinary Support Therapeutic Handout

Bulldog Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) / TREATMENT

  1. ANTIBIOTICS:  initiating antibiotic treatment based on urine culture results is essential for effectively treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) in bulldogs. The success of treatment largely depends on selecting an antibiotic to which the infecting bacteria are sensitive, administering it at the appropriate dosage, and adhering to the recommended duration of treatment without interruption. Performing a follow-up urine culture at the end of antibiotic treatment is often recommended to confirm the complete eradication of the urinary tract infection (UTI). This follow-up culture helps ensure that the antibiotic therapy has been successful in eliminating the bacteria causing the infection.
  2. PAIN CONTROL RX: NSAID and other analgesics
  3. SURGERY: in some cases, surgery will be required, examples are
    • urinary stone removal
    • ectopic urethra repair
    •  polyp or tumor removal
    • vaginal skinfold dermatitis repair (vaginoplasty)
    • Fr. Bulldog vaginal tumor
  4. SUPPLEMENTS:

4. TOPICALS: Keep your female English bulldog or French bulldog puppy’s vaginal folds dry and clean.

UTI in Bulldogs and Fr. Bulldogs : TIPS & WARNINGS

Here are a few recommendations and cautions curated by Dr. Kraemer regarding this medical condition:

BULLDOG UTI TREATMENT TIP

The treatment approach for urinary tract infections in bulldogs typically involves antibiotics. On the other hand, UTIs resulting from bladder stones will also require a

  • specialized prescription custom diet
  • proper hydration
  • incorporating bully therapeutic supplements

BULLDOG UTI SURGICAL TIP

In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the bladder stones and alleviate the condition. Regular veterinary consultation is crucial to determining the most appropriate course of action based on the specific diagnosis and needs of your bulldog.

BULLDOG UTI HYDRATION TIP:

Increasing the water intake of your bulldog and French bulldog is recommended to prevent crystallization and the formation of new stones. This can be achieved by offering additional drinking water and incorporating moist food into their diet. Adequate hydration is essential to dilute the urine and discourage the development of crystals or stones in the urinary tract. Regular access to fresh water and moisture-rich food can contribute to the overall urinary health of your pets.

BULLDOG UTI THERAPEUTIC SUPPLEMENTS TIP:

Supplements containing polyphenols found in cranberry, marshmallow root, echinacea, astragalus, and Oregon grape root extracts have been shown to help reduce the adhesion of pathogenic-resistant bacteria to the cell surface (biofilm).

Another helpful bulldog therapeutic supplement is:

probiotics for french bulldog megaesophagus and GERD

UTI TESTING & DIAGNOSIS WARNING

If your bulldog exhibits any signs of urinary distress, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly for testing. Urinary issues can be painful for your pet, and delayed intervention may lead to additional complications. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to address the underlying cause and alleviate discomfort, ensuring the overall well-being of your bulldog.

BULLDOG URINARY BLOCKAGE WARNING:

Male bulldogs possess a long and narrow urethra, whereas female bulldogs have a short and wide urethra. Consequently, male bulldogs face a significantly higher risk of urinary urethral blockage, where even small stones can obstruct normal urination.

Such cases are considered emergencies, as the obstructing stones should be removed as quickly as possible to relieve the blockage and prevent further complications. Timely veterinary intervention is crucial to addressing this potentially serious condition in male Bulldogs

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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