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Fungal Infection of the Lower Urinary Tract in Dogs

Fungal Infection of the Bladder and/or Urethra in Dogs

Fungal infections are not common occurrences in dogs. Typically, the body can handle fungi found in the environment without any issues. However, in certain cases, specific types of fungi can lead to infection symptoms, particularly in the lower urinary tract. These infections may manifest in the bladder and urethra and can even result in fungi appearing in the urine after being discharged from the kidneys. Dogs of all ages, breeds, and genders can be impacted by these infections.

Symptoms and Types

Although some dogs may not show any clinical symptoms despite having a well-established fungal infection in the lower urinary tract, others may exhibit the following signs:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Increased frequency of urination in small amounts
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)

Causes

The following are risk factors that may make your dog more susceptible to a fungal infection in the lower urinary tract:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Surgery
  • Insertion of urinary catheters
  • Concurrent bacterial infections in the lower urinary tract
  • Overuse of antibiotics

Diagnosis

Providing your veterinarian with a comprehensive history of your dog’s health, including symptoms and any relevant events like outdoor activities in wooded areas or near lakes, is crucial. Following this, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination of your dog.

Laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. While CBC and biochemistry profile results may often appear normal, abnormalities may be detected if the fungal infection has spread to other organs.

Urinalysis is essential for diagnosis, as the fungus is typically present in the urine. Laboratory testing can confirm its presence. Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend a urine culture test to grow and identify the causative fungus. Different fungal species exhibit distinct growth patterns and characteristics on culture, aiding in identification. If necessary, more specific tests may be suggested to identify the most common fungal species causing infections in animals, especially if the causative fungus couldn’t be identified through culture testing.

Treatment

Fungal infections are not commonly encountered in dogs, typically arising in conjunction with specific risk factors that make them more susceptible to such infections. It’s crucial to identify and address these risk factors to effectively treat these infections.

Antifungal medications are administered to eradicate the infection, with the duration of treatment tailored to each individual animal. In some cases, a urinary catheter may be employed to directly administer drugs into the lower urinary tract. Repeat administrations may be necessary for full recovery.

Living and Management

In certain cases, long-term treatment may be necessary for complete resolution of clinical symptoms. Throughout the treatment process, urine samples will be periodically collected and sent for culture testing. Typically, two urine cultures are conducted at intervals of 10-14 days to assess the resolution of the fungal infection. Additionally, a fungal culture will be repeated two months after treatment cessation.

Ensure to follow your veterinarian’s guidance regarding treatment and maintain a careful watch over your dog’s diet. Monitor the appearance of your dog’s urine for any changes in color or signs of difficulty urinating. If you notice anything unusual, promptly consult your veterinarian for potential adjustments to the treatment plan.

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