Puppy Bladder Infection – Please Help

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    My 10 week old female Basset probably has a bladder infection.
    She is squatting and peeing constantly (inside the house and out).
    We have no access to a holistic vet and I’m sure our vet will put
    her on antibiotics. I’ve started her on echinacea and goldenseal plus
    cornsilk. Do you have any other suggestions? I live in a small town
    and don’t have access to much – should I take her to the vet?


    I don’t mean to jump in here with veterinary advice as I’m not a vet, but having had two dogs now who get chronic UTIs due to a surgical procedure correcting a genetic kidney defect, so this is something I’ve had a lot of experience with.

    There are herbs that can treat bladder infections, and homeopathy (which really treats patients, not diseases) can also clear up a urinary tract infection. And so, of course, can antibiotics.

    But whichever option you take for treating the UTI, there are some general principles that apply across the board.

    First, go to the vet and have a urine culture and sensitivity test done, and a urinalysis. These are two separate tests, and you really do need both of them. Many vets will diagnose and treat a UTI based on a urinalysis alone, and I think this is bad medicine. It prevents you from being able to really monitor the effectiveness of your treatment, and it also makes it harder to go to the next stage of the initial therapy fails (as it often will). I like to use the best of what western/conventional medicine has to offer, and using urine cultures on urinary tract infections is one of those “best things.”

    The symptoms should subside quite quickly if the treatment is working. With the correct homeopathic remedy, you should see improvement within 24 hours. With herbs and antibiotics, 48 is more reasonable. If you are using antibiotics, complete the entire course as prescribed, or you run the risk of creating a drug-resistant infection.

    Herbs for UTIs can be extremely powerful and can be very diuretic. Unlike many other conditions, this is not really suitable for home treatment by an inexperienced herbalist. I would only treat a UTI with herbs if my dog was in the care of a vet with a lot of experience with herbalism, either western or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    Homeopathy for acute conditions like a single UTI (not chronic or recurrent) can sometimes be used at home by pet owners with access to the proper homeopathic literature and medicines, but if you have no experience with homeopathy it’s best that your dog be treated by a homeopathic veterinarian.

    Whichever course you use to treat the UTI, when you’re done, do another culture to make sure you really got the infection. Unlike, say, the digestive tract, urine is supposed to be sterile. There should be no bacterial growth. This is a step tht many people skip and it’s really critical. So many chronic urinary tract infections are really one infection that was never eradicated.

    I also want to add one thing. While I rarely give antibiotics and deplore the casual use of these drugs, UTIs are one area where I will consider them. In some ways, using antibiotics for a bladder infection is a form of hygiene. Unlike the mouth, the digestive tract, or the reproductive tract in females, which have their own natural microbial balance which can be manipulated and supported to restore a healthy condition, the urinary bladder is supposed to be sterile. What we want is NO microbes at all, and that is something antibiotics are (often unfortunately) very good at.

    That’s my two cents worth! Good luck.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Christie Keith] UTIs are one area where I will consider them. [/quote]

    I agree with everything that Christie says except that in my practice I have rarely found antibiotics necessary for UTIs. If you are treating acutely on your own however (without the guidance of a vet homeopath) you definitely should use a urine culture to help direct therapy (and use antibiotics if indicated).

    Regardless of what you do in this acute situation, a veterinary homeopath should be part of your veterinary medical health care team to insure that your puppy lives the longest, healthiest life possible.

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