I have been this route and have learned quite a bit through my experience. Here are some pointers and things to consider when dealing with UTI's.
Remember that I am not a doctor but a mom of a wonderful critter that has been through it all.
1. Not all UTI's are the same. Each time that one is suspected a culture should be done to see what medicine will work. They all don't work for all infections. Sometimes you have to FORCE your vet to do a culture but it has to be done. Ask for a copy to keep in your files at home so that you can look at it later if need be.
2. Make sure that you understand how to express correctly and completely. Pooling urine is what causes some UTI's. If you are not sure, make an appointment with the vet, express them while you are there, then have the vet see if you got it all. It takes me less than 1 minute to express Sydney. Sometimes I can't get it all the first time but I let her rest for awhile, them try it again. I don't give up until I get what I beleive is all of it.
3. Keep the bottom areas as clean as possible. Roll them on their backs daily and clean it with a baby wipe, females especially. You will be amazed at all the yucky stuff that can build up. Just think of the bottom of your shoes!! Get into all the folds and crevices.
4. After you express them, especially females, make sure that you wipe them to dry them off. A wet bottom loves bacteria.
5. Try not to let them lick themselves down there (yeah right). That brings in bacteria too.
6. Cranberry tablets are good at preventing UTI's. You need a good one, like from a health food store or on line. Cranactin is a very good one. Use one capsule per 20 pounds of the regular Cranactin per day, not the super one. The ones you buy at Walmart or places like that aren't really strong enough. Solid Golds Berry Balance is good to, but it is in powder form and I found it hard to give. Remember too much cranberry can cause stones so you have to be careful.
7. You can check their ph balance and that will give you an idea what is going on in there. A good ph balance is 6.5-7.0. Bacteria will grow in the higher numbers. You can purchase strips on line. Check the ph early in the morning before breakfast. Certain types of foods cause higher ph balances. You can call the dog food company and ask them what ph their food causes. They know.
8. Remember that water is very important to flush out the urinary tract and the bladder. One good way to give water is to boil a whole chicken in plain water (no salt). Eat the chicken yourself but save the water. Freeze them in ice cube trays and when you feel that your baby needs more water or just isn't drinking enough, put one in a bowl and add some more water, put it in the micro for a few second and they will think that they are getting a wonderful treat. If they like ice cubes, just give them the cube. Make sure that you express them about 3-4 hours aferwards. When I have been gone a little to long and I know that Sydney has had a lot of urine in her bladder I give her chicken water to flush out her bladder.
9. Anti-biotics remove the bad bacteria and the good bacteria in the urinary tract so a good thing to give is a pro-biotic, like acidophilis (sp). Ask at your local health food store. Yogurt is good but sometimes not concentrated enough. Some believe that dogs should be on it all the time.
10. Remember that UTI's are just part of not having bladder control. They just happen sometimes no matter how hard we try to prevent them. If chronic UTI's are your problem ask your vet about "pulse therapy" which is giving the meds full strength for a certain amount of days during the week, then a few days off. I think it is 4 days on and 3 days off. Another thing that works is a daily dose of the meds for a long period of time. I know that sounds harsh but if it keeps the infections away it is worth it. Some people say that they will build up a resistant to the medicine. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If they do, then there are a lot of different medicines out there that will work. That is why a culture is very important.
11. Once you have the infections under control, do a culture occasionally to make sure that it is working and to give you peace of mind.
WHEW!! That was a lot on info. I hope you all don't mind.
Let me tell you what happened to Sydney and her UTI's. She has been paralyzed since Sept of 2003. She went into surgery with a UTI and had one constantly for the next year and a half. I had did it all, Cranactin, Berry Balance,ph, cleaning, smelling, praying, etc to no avail.
Then one day I thought that maybe it was ME that was causing the infections because I wasn't expressing her the right way. I was here on this board and others, telling people how to express their babies and I wasn't even doing it the right way with Sydney myself. I wasn't practicing what I was preaching!! I was telling the correct way but wasn't doing it.
Well, once I realized that I wasn't doing it right I really concentrated on doing it the right way. Boy was I surpised at how much more urine was in there. To make a long story short, Sydney is no longer on ANY medication and doing just fine. She is due for another culture soon to make sure that nothing is growing. I have learned alot through all of this and hopefully what I have learned will help you out.
Anita and one UTI free Sydney