When a male dog pees blood, dog owners are often concerned about their canine companion. It can be scary indeed noticing blood in a dog's urine and not knowing exactly what may be wrong. Fortunately, many improvements have been made in the veterinary field that it is rather easy and quick making an accurate diagnosis and suggesting the most appropriate treatment. If your make dog is peeing blood therefore see your vet so that he can be properly cured. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec offers a list of possible causes for when a male dog pees blood along with treatments.
Why Would a Male Dog Pee Blood?
The presence of blood in a dog’s urine is a good indicator that something wrong is going on. The medical term for peeing blood is hematuria. As a clinical sign, hematuria, is always significant and can have several possible sources. In males, the presence of blood in the urine can be due to sexual overexcitement, while in females it can be due to estrus (heat cycle).
To make things easier, the reasons leading to hematuria can be classified in three main categories. This classification is based on the issue’s exact location within the urinary tract. In that name, the hematuria causes can be categorized as: caused by a problem in the male dog's upper urinary tract, caused by a problem in the male dog's lower urinary tract or combined urinary tract causes. Let's take a closer look to these causes and the symptoms they may cause.
Problems in the Male Dog's upper Urinary Tract
In dogs, same as in humans, the upper urinary tract consists of two kidneys. Therefore, hematuria caused by issues in this part of the urinary tract is always associated with kidney problems. The most common upper urinary tract causes of hematuria (blood in urine) include:
Kidney infection – the infection may affect either one or both kidneys. In most cases, kidney infections are caused by bacteria that travel up the urinary tract, eventually reaching the kidneys. Sometimes, the infection can be caused by kidney stones and kidney parasites. Kidney infections are considered a serious and life-threatening condition, particularly if left untreated.
Dogs with kidney infections will show the following signs and symptoms: excessive urination, increased thirst, difficult urinating, hematuria, abdominal pain, vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss, lethargy, depression and fever.
Idiopathic renal hematuria – as the name suggests, the causative agent for this issue is unknown. It is postulated that the culprit may be a faulty immune system, an infection or side-effect of a certain drug. More often than not, the condition is benign and according to veterinary reports, it has a hereditary component.
Kidney cancer – luckily this condition is rarely seen in dogs. However, if present, the cancer can affect only the kidney or it can progress and spread to other body parts. Usually, only one of the kidneys is affected but in rare cases, the cancer may affect both kidneys.
Renal telangiectasia – certain dog breeds (such as the Welsh Corgi) are genetically predisposed to renal telangiectasia. Renal telangiectasia is a condition that manifests with spontaneous widening of the kidneys’ blood vessels. The wider the blood vessels the higher the chances of passing blood with the urine.
Problems in the Male Dog's Lower Urinary Tract
The lower urinary tract contains the bladder and urethra. The most common lower urinary tract causes of hematuria include the following health problems.
Bladder and urethral inflammation – bacterial infection, mineral deposits, injuries, tumors and even persistent emotional stress can cause cystitis (inflammation of the lining of the bladder) or urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). These inflammatory conditions often occur together and are then called lower urinary tract disease (LUTD). LUTDs can affect dogs of all ages but are more common in females than in males because they have a shorter urethra, which means a shorter distance for bacteria to travel from the outside of the body to the bladder. Plus, in spayed females, there is a so-called hormone-related hematuria and incontinence.
How can I tell if my male dog has a urinary tract infection? Both cystitis and urethritis cause pain. Affected dogs urinate and lick the penis more frequently than normal. In addition of containing blood, the urine may turn cloudy and often has a sour smell.
Bladder stones – dogs of any age and breed can develop mineral sediment, called crystals, or mineral stones called uroliths. Stones most commonly develop in the bladder and pass down into the urethra. Sediment and stones can form due to a variety of reasons such as chronic infections, nutrition, metabolic disorders and genetics. Some dogs with bladder sediment or stones have no signs while others have hematuria and lower urinary tract pain, which causes them to adopt a crouching posture.
Bladder cancer – based on the clinical signs, a dog with bladder cancer will behave similarly as a dog with an UTI – it will pass blood in the urine, it will manifest straining and difficulty urinating and ultimately the incidence of soiling accidents in the house will increase significantly.
Prostate issues – dogs that have not been neutered are particularly prone to benign prostate enlargement and prostate infections. The prostate increases as the dog ages, usually reaching its maximum size between six and ten years of age. Prostate infections are usually caused by bacteria that travel from the lower urinary tract up into the prostate gland. Both issues can clinically manifest with hematuria.
Combined Urinary Tract Causes
Some hematuria-causes affect both the upper and the lower urinary tract. The most commonly reported include the following health conditions:
Ruptured bladder – car accidents and dog attacks can lead to bladder rupture and consequently, peeing blood.
Coagulopathy – this scientific term stands for blood clotting problems. Blood clotting issues can manifest with hematuria.
Vasculitis – the term vasculitis indicates inflammation of the blood vessels. When inflamed, the blood vessels are prone to leaking and can eventually cause hematuria.
Consult With Your Veterinarian
Consult your vet if you see blood in your dog’s urine. Keep in mind that it is advisable to have your dog checked within the first 24 hours of presenting blood in the urine.
When going to the vet’s office, take a fresh sample of urine (preferably from the midstream flow) in a clear container. Plus, make sure you are ready to answer questions about the frequency of urination, the typical amount of water drunk in a day and any additional signs and symptoms.
The vet will analyze your dog’s urine sample and perform a thorough and complete physical examination. If necessary, the vet will conduct a blood test and perform and ultrasound or x-ray. Once these diagnostics are completed, the vet will determine the underlying cause.
With the underlying cause determined and the diagnosis set, the vet will plan the course of the treatment and inform you about your dog’s prognosis. The treatment varies greatly – from neutering and diet changes to antibiotics and surgeries.
About the Author
Dr. Ivana Crnec is a graduate of the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia.
She currently practices as a veterinarian in Bitola and is completing her postgraduate studies in the Pathology of Domestic Carnivores at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia.
Ivana’s research has been published in international journals, and she regularly attends international veterinary conferences.