Post-Whelping Urinary Infections in Dogs

Whelping can be hard on mom.
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The urinary tract infection is the most common infection in dogs, affecting 14 percent of the population. The increased multiplication of normally healthy bacteria that causes this condition is more common when your dog's defenses are low, such as after giving birth. Concerns about the puppies may affect her treatment options.

Symptoms of Infection

Sometimes a UTI will not have any symptoms in dogs, and that fact makes a post-whelping checkup especially important. When symptoms are present, they may include trouble urinating, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, foul-smelling urine, incontinence or frequent urination. An untreated UTI can lead to serious complications like more widespread infection, infertility, kidney infection or scarring, and kidney stones. If you suspect this type of infection, consult your veterinarian.

Diagnosing the Condition

To test for urinary tract infections, your veterinarian will need a sample of your dog's urine. He will test the urine for pus, blood or proteins and then culture these findings to determine what type of bacteria are causing the infection. The vet will likely take a complete blood count to determine whether your dog's white blood cells are high. X-rays or ultrasounds may be necessary to check for kidney stones or lesions.

Treatment Options

Antibiotics are the most effective treatment for urinary tract infections, but these medication may be harmful to nursing puppies. Some antibiotics may cause bone or growth development problems in nursing puppies. Make sure that your vet knows your dog is nursing if he is prescribing medication. If a safe antibiotic cannot be found, you may have to hand-rear the puppies. Adding cranberry extract to antibiotic treatment can help prevent bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract walls and help eliminate stubborn or recurring infections. You'll want your vet to advise you.

Other Post-Whelping Infections

A dog may develop other infections after giving birth. Mastitis, the infection of the milk ducts, may occur if a teat is not suckled often enough by her puppies and may require antibiotic treatment. Metritis, an infection of the uterus, may occur if any placental or fetal tissue remains in the uterus after whelping is completed. It can be fatal if not treated. Treatment with antibiotics is common for these conditions. If you suspect your dog has any infections after whelping, bring her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.