While it may not be the easiest symptom to detect, if you do happen to notice your dog peeing blood, there are a few likely causes. Fortunately, if your dog is peeing blood, it usually points to easily treatable health conditions — but there are some cases when serious issues could be at hand with a dog peeing blood.
According to Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, a dog peeing blood means there’s bleeding somewhere within the urinary tract — and could be a problem related to your dog’s kidneys, urinary bladder or urethra. If you have a male dog, prostate issues can also cause your dog to pee blood.
“As a general rule, blood in the urine is not an emergency unless the pet is passing what looks like straight blood,” Dr. Richter says. “Blood-tinged urine definitely needs to be evaluated, but unless the pet is uncomfortable, it’s not an emergency.”
Dr. Richter says that possible causes of your dog peeing blood include: urinary tract infections, kidney infections, bladder stones, kidney stones, or growths in the bladder, prostate or urethra. A prostate infection can also cause blood in the urine, or in less likely circumstances, pets with a systemic bleeding or blood clotting disorder.
According to Dr. Steve Weinberg, DVM, founder of 911 VETS in California, a dog peeing blood who’s also repeatedly straining to urinate or licking at his genitals could signal a urinary tract infection. If there’s a blockage from a urinary stone, you may notice your dog is more lethargic than usual, or possibly even vomiting because urine is backing up.
“Blood in the urine can be a serious sign warranting a visit with the vet,” Dr. Weinberg says. “The most common cause in dogs is a urinary tract infection, and on occasion, the urinary tract infection can be accompanied by the presence of urinary stones or even kidney stones.”
So, for a dog peeing blood, schedule a visit with your veterinarian — in some cases as soon as possible. Dr. Richter explains that the diagnosis for a dog peeing blood will usually begin with a urinalysis to check for an infection. “Other diagnostic tools used include blood tests to check for kidney issues or other medical problems, culturing urine to check for infections, and imaging such as x-rays or abdominal ultrasound,” he adds.
The treatment and prognosis for a dog peeing blood are going to depend on the diagnosis, since blood in the urine can point to a few different medical issues. “Urinary tract infections carry a good prognosis, while bladder tumors and clotting disorders are a guarded prognosis,” Dr. Weinberg explains. “Urinary blockages can also carry a good prognosis if the blockage is removed.”
Depending upon your dog’s diagnosis, Dr. Weinberg says treatment may include antibiotics, surgery to remove stones, chemotherapy or radiation for tumors, or no treatment in the case of trauma that caused a transient hemorrhage. Clotting disorders could potentially require transfusion with plasma and/or the use of Vitamin K. “Any change in behavior or normal patterns for water drinking and/or urination are cause to contact your veterinarian,” Dr. Richter says. “These could be early signs of medical issues.”
Thumbnail: Photography © Wavetop | iStock / Getty Images Plus.
This piece was originally published in 2018.