Urine culture testing is an important way confirming what type of infection is present un your pet’s urinary tract. You may have taken your pet dog because of signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) like frequent urination, passing blood in urine, or urinating small amounts.

Simple testing for the presence of a UTI can help to confirm if there is a urinary infection or not. However, to know the exact kind of antibiotic to give your pet, a vet may have to do a urinary culture test.

Although urinary tract infections mainly affect dogs, cats can also suffer from UTIs.

Symptoms of Pet’s Urinary Tract Infection

One of the first symptoms of a UTI in your pet may be that he or she has had a few “accidents” around the house. If you notice this, then it’s a good idea to observe for other symptoms of a UTI. These can be any of the following:

  • Pinkish stains where your dog has urinated due to blood in the urine
  • Changes in urination habits – either going more frequently or less
  • Signs of pain while urinating
  • Excessive licking of the genital area
  • Dribbling small amounts of urine

How to Test for Urinary Tract Infections in Pets

Your vet will take a urine sample from your dog by inserting a needle directly into the bladder. Don’t worry, this is fairly painless and it will be done very quickly. This is the best method because it prevents any contamination in the urine sample.

Also, testing urine that is collected in a cup doesn’t have the same concentration of bacteria as a sample directly from the bladder.

The sample is then left in an incubator to allow for bacteria to grow so that the type of bacteria can be identified.

Importance of Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infection in Pets

The benefits of culture testing to identify the cause of the urinary tract infection is the best way for a vet to prescribe effective treatment.

For example, the Journal of Veterinary Medicine reported that more and more bacterial infections in dogs are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Identifying the exact type of bacteria causing the UTI helps to prescribe the best antibiotic and prevent complications.[1]

Once your furry friend has finished the course of antibiotics, your vet may arrange for another culture test. The second culture test allows your vet to see if the course of treatment has worked and if your pet has been successfully treated for the urinary tract infection.

How to Prevent Pet Urinary Tract Infections

Of course, preventing a urinary tract infection will help your pet avoid the discomfort of painful urination. You will also save on unnecessary visits to your local vet. So, what can you do to prevent UTIs in pets? Here are a few practical ideas:

  • Encourage your dog to drink fresh, clean water often to help flush toxins.
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to urinate and avoid.
  • Take your pet for a checkup at least once a year.

1. J Vet Intern Med. 2015 Jul-Aug; 29(4): 1045–1052.