My Pet Is Peeing Blood!
There are many reasons why your pet’s urine may contain blood, a symptom known as hematuria. Some common causes include urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney stones, cancer and systemic bleeding disorders. In cats, feline lower urinary tract disease or feline interstitial cystitisinflammation of the bladder that causes symptoms of lower urinary tract disease also can result in hematuria.
Bloody Urine Warrants A Trip To The Veterinarian
If you notice blood in your pet’s urine, a trip to the veterinarian is needed. Your veterinarian will want to know how frequently your pet is urinating. Is it more or less than usual? Is your pet straining when trying to urinate? What is the volume of urine produced—large amounts or just small drops here and there? Do you see drops of blood at the beginning or end of urination, or is the urine bloody throughout? Any chance your pet got into rat bait? Has there been any change in your pet’s water consumption or appetite, and what food is your pet eating? If you have a male cat that is trying to urinate and is not producing urine, this is an emergency situation and warrants immediate veterinary attention because he could be “blockedobstruction of the urethra.” In the case of dogs, your veterinarian also will want to know if your pet has been spayed or neutered. A dog that is not spayed may appear to have blood in her urine because she is in heat. Unneutered male dogs can develop benign prostatic hyperplasia an enlarged prostate. while neutered male dogs are at a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer, both of which can contribute to urinary issues.
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination and then collect urine for a urinalysisanalysis of urine by physical, chemical, and microscopical means to test for the presence of disease, drugs, etc.. Try not to let your pet urinate for several hours or on the way into the clinic. There is much information to be obtained from just a few drops of urine. Veterinarians can screen for bacterial infections, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Your veterinarian may collect urine by ultrasound-guided cystocentesisa veterinary procedure where a needle is placed into the urinary bladder through the abdominal wall of an animal and a sample of urine is removed. This means he or she will use an ultrasound to visualize the bladder and then use a small needle to collect some urine. Cystocentesis is not painful, and dogs and cats tolerate it well. While using the ultrasound, your veterinarian also can determine if there are any stones or masses in the bladder.
Once the cause of the hematuria is determined, your veterinarian can begin the appropriate treatment. Urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics and sometimes a dietary change. Depending on the type of stones present, your veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove them or a special prescription diet to dissolve them. Your veterinarian may need to do further diagnostics to evaluate for kidney, liver or immune-mediated diseasea condition that occurs when the immune system abnormally attacks the central nervous system, leading to serious health complications or to check for diabetes. Pets that have frequent or recurrent urinary tract infections also will need further diagnostics to check for underlying problems, such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes, tumors or stones in the kidneys, congenital problems or, in male dogs, prostatic abscessesfocal accumulation of pus within the prostate gland, cysts or cancer. These diagnostic tests can include blood work, urine cultures, radiographic studies, complete abdominal ultrasound and more.
Hematuria in your pet can be a serious and painful problem, so seek veterinary care when you notice it in your cat or dog. Fortunately, most cases also can be resolved fairly quickly. If the problem doesn’t resolve or if it recurs, there are further diagnostic and treatment options available to help you help your pet feel better.
Lori Teller, DVM is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and lives in Houston, Texas. She practices at Meyerland Animal Clinic.