This is by NO means a ‘definitive’ document on canine urology, or even chronic urinary tract infections, but it is intended to bring up a few points about “Why Does My Female Dog Keep Having Urinary Tract Infections?”.
First, elderly dogs are more vulnerable to infections because of NUMEROUS aging factors like a weaker immune system, and some changes to the anatomy, and endocrine functions of the dog.
Self maintenance of the female dogs urinary tree is pretty straightforward but can be impacted by advancing age. Even in spayed female dogs there is a certain degree of elasticity and self-lubrication of the exterior girl-parts and urethra. Too, as dogs age, the girl-parts change in shape to the outside, sometimes the vulva gets dry and or even gaps a little. When both things happen, infections are common. Not only do germs gain easy access to formerly forbidden areas, but self-lubrication can be lacking and the net “flow” of natural lubricants is static, not “out”.
So these dogs can accumulate cells and mucin, etc in the urethra and girl-parts and when they do, things can get infected or irritated, creating the signs of urinary tract infection.
When the dog pees in a cup for a test, it can simply rinse a lot of the cells and debris into the sample and nothing is wrong with the bladder at all! But that can be diagnostic anyway. (Vets can get a sample through a needle in the bladder to separate cells from the urethra or from the bladder.)
Sometimes the “end result” of a chronic urinary tract infection with a female elderly dog is:
- Keeping hair away from the girl-parts
- Keep the girl-parts clean with a Cetaphil Wipe, on the daily if possible.
- You can put a little NeoSporin on the elderly dog’s girlparts to avoid any crusting and limit microbe populations if the patient cannot lick it off. Chronic UTI’s are less common in dogs who can self-manage the girl-parts. Point being: Chronic recurrent urethritis in elderly female dogs occurs mostly because the dog loses the elasticity to clean herself. (Hence, loses the ability to remove benefits of NeoSporin)
- “As needed” antibiotics / anti-inflammatories.
And yes, for urinary tract infections / urethritis, anti-inflammatories like Deramax are highly recommended. Inflammation from UTI’s can be the most disruptive aspect of having a bladder / urinary tract infection.