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No animal is immune to urinary tract infection (UTI) or cystitis. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder wall. Inflammation is often caused by the presence of, but also by the repetitive action of abrasive movement of angular particles such as urinary crystals that create microlesions on the wall of the bladder.

The symptoms of UI in our pets

This uncomfortable inflammation causes the animal the following signs:

  • an urge to urinate (urination) more often, but in small amounts
    or even a drip (pollakiuria);
  • pain in the stomach and during urination
  • urine clear or tinged with blood (hematuria);
  • excessive licking in the genital area or the abdomen;
  • urination in inappropriate places (sofas, bed, bath, outside litter);
  • abnormal vocalization during urination (sign of discomfort or pain);
  • the animal forces itself to urinate (dysuria);
  • has a tendency to hide, to vomit, to be more quiet/lethargic;
  • until no urination.

In general, cystitis is caused by a bacterial infection. It can also be of varied origin; chronic inflammation, urinary stones, fibrosis or even of unknown origin. UI can be caused by an external agent, but may also be due to urine retention. A UI can also go up to the kidneys and infect them (pyelonephritis). The veterinarian may strongly recommend a maintenance food with urinary pH between 6 and 6.5; a medication of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories/painkillers; and surgery if necessary.

Usually, male dogs are much less subject to UI than females of the same species. In fact mechanically speaking, the anatomy of males represents a greater barrier than that of the female simply because her urethra is longer than that of the female. Also, its prostate has an antibacterial effect. However, an abnormality of the latter causes symptoms very similar to IU. However, this is not the same situation in male cats that are the exception to the rule!

In winter, the genitals of a female can be in contact with the snow. The latter being invaded by bacteria, it becomes a source of direct contamination. In addition, the coldness of the snow irritates the genitals of a female, so they will have a tendency to lick themselves and they will contaminate their urethra with oral bacteria.

Urinary Tract Infection in Male Cats

The castrated male cat has a urethra whose diameter is smaller than that of its counterpart the intact cat. Because of this disadvantage, he is more at risk for complications such as the accumulation of crystals in his urethra. As a result, a plug is created and prevents urine from flowing out normally. Blockages of the bladder by stones or crystal plugs can be very serious or fatal because the animal can no longer urinate. The symptoms of urinary blockage are dysuria with no urine, abdominal pain, heavy mewing during urination, lethargic, no longer eating, no longer drinking, sometimes vomiting and a tendency to hide. This is an urgent condition that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections

It is imperative, encourage the consumption of water! To do this we will introduce wet food (canned) to increase the consumption of water since the concentration of water is higher in this type of food. Give access to fresh water at all times in a bowl that is always clean.


SIf your pets spend a certain number of hours outside the house in the winter, consider getting a heated electric bowl to make sure they do not run out of water. Cats, but also some dogs, are very sensitive to the taste and the temperature of the water. You can chill water or ice cubes and buy a water fountain that is generally appreciated. This fountain allows cats, who have very sensitive whiskers, not to come into contact with water when they drink. Always have bowls of water and food away from busy areas or cat litter. Place the latter in a quiet place and provide at least one litter per cat and without cover. Change the bedding once or twice a day and use an odourless litter substrate. In addition, try to identify the events that can be stressful in your pet’s life and try to minimize or minimize the changes.

In short, all animals can have UI. Whatever the age, the sex, the race, the cat or the dog, it is incontestably the way of life, the food, the lack of consumption of water which are often the big ones responsible for this condition.

Martine Lavallée, B.A.A. and animal health technician

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