Fungal Infection of the Bladder and/or Urethra in Dogs
Fungal infections are uncommon in dogs. In fact, because of the widespread existence of fungi in the environment, these organisms are harmless most of the time, or the body is adept at fighting off any ill effects brought on by the fungus. In some cases, thought not all, some types of fungus can cause symptoms of infection in the body. For example, fungi may inhabit and infect the lower urinary tract and may also appear in the urine after being released from the kidneys.
Dogs of any age, breed, or gender may be affected.
Symptoms and Types
Even when a fungal infection has become well established in the lower urinary tract, there are many dogs that display no clinical symptoms. However, in others the following symptoms may be seen:
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Increased frequency of small amounts of urine
- Blood in urine (hematuria)
Following are the risk factors which may predispose your dog to a lower urinary tract fungal infection:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Placement of urinary catheters
- Concurrent lower urinary tract bacterial infections
- Excessive use of antibiotics
You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a description of the symptoms and any events that might have occurred around the time of onset, such as field outings, visits to wooded areas, lakes, etc. After taking a detailed history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination on your dog. Laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The results of the complete blood count and biochemistry profile are often normal. However, if a fungal infection has spread to other body organs, the abnormalities in these tests will depend on which of the organs is being affected.
Urinalysis is important in the diagnosis of this disease as the fungus is often passed into the urine and the laboratory testing may confirm the presence of the fungus in urine. Your veterinarian will also recommend a urine culture test, which will allow for the growing and identification of the causative fungus. Various species of fungi can be identified on the basis of their different growth patterns and characteristics on culture. More specific tests are also available for the identification of the most common species of fungi that cause infections in animals. Your veterinarian will recommend these tests if the fungus that is involved in the infection could not be identified by the culture testing.