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Canine Urinary Staph Infections

| Updated September 26, 2017

A urinary staph infection is a medical condition that is more common in dogs than cats. Dogs that have a urinary tract staph infection may not exhibit symptoms, or may have symptoms such as difficulty urinating. Veterinarians suggest that about 14 percent of dogs will suffer from a urinary tract infection in their lifetime.


The dog produces urine in the kidneys and it is passed to the urinary bladder. The urinary bladder is where the urine is stored until the dog is ready to urinate. A urinary tract staph infection is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria, and may affect this urination. The vagina is an area that may harbor bacteria in female dogs, while the prostate gland will harbor bacteria in male dogs.


Dogs that have tumors of the bladder are at an increased risk of developing bacterial infections in the urinary tract. The staphylococcus bacteria is the most common type of bacteria found in urinary tract infections in dogs, followed by the proteus bacteria. The staphylococcus bacteria is also a cause of certain types of bladder stones called "struvite." Certain diseases, such as diabetes and Cushing's disease, may pre-dispose dogs to urinary staph infections as well as medications that suppress the immune system.


The symptoms associated with urinary staph infections in dogs may include blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, increased frequency of urination and straining upon urination. Dogs that have urinary infections may also begin having accidents in the house, even if they have been housebroken for a period of time.


Your veterinarian may take a urine sample in order to diagnose a urinary staph infection. A urinalysis is the microscopic examination of the urine sample to detect the presence of bacteria. During this examination, the veterinarian is looking at the dog's white blood cells, red blood cells and crystals in the urine. If the veterinarian suspects a bacterial infection such as staph, a culture may be performed. This is done by catheterizing the dog and taking a urine sample, and growing a culture to determine the type of bacteria that is present.


The most commonly prescribed treatment for urinary staph infections in dogs is antibiotics. Dogs that have recurring staph infections may need further examination and treatment to determine if there is an underlying medical condition--bladder stones or bladder tumors--that may be causing the repeated infection.