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Blood in dog urine: Causes and treatments

White and black Jack russell advice
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There are few more alarming sights for a pet owner than blood in dog urine. It might not be serious, but it is essential that your dog sees a vet as soon as possible if he is peeing blood

By G. John Cole

There are a number of possible causes, ranging from the more-or-less harmless to the life-threatening variety.

If you catch your dog peeing blood, or find blood in your dog’s stool, make that call today: ring a vet.

Diagnosing the cause of blood in dog urine

Did you know that, just like with humans, it’s possible for there to be blood in urine even if you don’t see it? In this case, you’ll need to hope that it gets noticed by the vet for some other reason! But if you think you notice red in your dog’s pee, try to make sure that next time he cocks his leg there is a piece of white paper for him to tinkle on. That way you should be able to see for sure.

Dog expert Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club, also suggests trying to collect some in a jar so that your dog’s vet can make a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Your dog’s vet will proceed with a physical examination and chemical diagnostics. They will also ask you about other symptoms you’ve noticed in your dog – so pay attention once you suspect doggo is unwell!

Causes of blood in dog urine

Unfortunately, cancer is one possible cause if you find your dog peeing blood. Certain types of terrier and sheepdog are particularly susceptible to cancer of the urinary tract or kidney. If you notice weight loss or fever at the same time as the blood incident, cancer could be the answer: but actually, these kinds of cancer are pretty rare among most breeds.

But even if it’s not cancer, it could be a different kidney or urinary tract problem, such as an infection or renal insufficiency. And if your dog could speak, he would probably ask you to get that sorted out.

Colitis is another ‘big C’ that can cause blood in dog urine. This one’s pretty common: it can account for around 50% of chronic diarrhoea cases. Your dog may also become more farty than usual, and dehydrated due to the urinating, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

Colitis can be caused by stress, a change of diet, or many other causes. Such is the nature of the lower intestine. Your dog’s vet will probably prescribe drugs and dietary changes to get that gut back up and running as it should.

Another potential cause of blood in dog pee is thrombocytopenia, or – for those with ortographobia – low platelet count in the blood. As this is a blood problem, a transfusion may be the solution if it’s serious, or less dramatic treatments if it’s not so bad.

There can also be chemical reasons behind blood in pee. If your dog is on chemotherapy, your vet will have warned you this can be a side-effect. But the blood might be because your dog has eaten toxins, such as pest poison. Or he might have been struck hard by a ball or vehicle; or have an anatomical malformation.

The point is, with so many possibilities, and some of them so serious, your dog needs to see a vet.

Treatment for blood in dog urine

There are many possible causes for blood in dog pee, and each one comes with its own set of potential treatments. It may end up being something the vet advises you to do at home (such as rest or dietary changes) but there is likely to be at least an element of medical intervention, through medicine, surgery, or therapy.

Kidney cancer, for example, may be treated with surgery, chemo, or other care such as IV, depending on the stage and nature of the disease. Blood in the urine can be an early symptom of kidney cancer in dogs, so getting him to the vet as soon as possible may just save his life.

Don’t try to get around vet bills by treating the symptom of blood in urine at home. You will have no idea what the cause is. There may be more than one.