Urinary Tract Infections Treatment in Pets

Unconventional Treatment Methods for UTIs


We’ve talked in the last couple of posts about urinary tract infections, both uncomplicated and complicated. Unfortunately, for some pets, urinary tract infections are not easily treated and can be recurrent and/or persistent. The treatments we’ll be discussing today are unconventional treatment methods that have been suggested and/or used in these types of infections.

These treatments were covered in Dr. Leah Cohn’s AVMA session, Urinary Tract Infections: Common, But Not Always Simple. Keep in mind these are not first-line treatments and may not be recommended for all dogs. Some veterinarians may not be comfortable with the usage of unconventional treatments either and may have valid concerns about their usage.

  • Fosfomycin (Monaural) is used in human medicine for urinary tract infections involving E. coli. Dr. Cohn mentioned that she had used the product in dogs with reasonable success. However, no formal studies have been done looking at the efficacy and safety of this drug nor has the proper dosage been established with certainty.
  • Routine use of antibiotics prophylactically to prevent frequent recurrence of UTI may or may not work and may increase the likelihood that infections that do develop will be more resistant to antibiotics. Amoxicillin or a cephalosporin such as cephalexin is often chosen if this course is pursued. The antibiotic is normally given at night before bed or is sometimes given in a pulse therapy administering the medication one week out of every four weeks.
  • Methenamine is a medication that is transformed to formaldehyde in the bladder if the urine is acidic. Urinary acidifiers are sometimes needed in conjunction with this medication in order for it to be effectively converted. As a result, it is contraindicated in pets with renal failure.
  • Probiotics may also have a place in treating urinary tract infection, at least in theory. The bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections often come from the gastrointestinal tract. The theory behind using probiotics for urinary tract infections involves replacing the pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria with “good” bacteria. This treatment is theoretical and not proven but is safe and relatively inexpensive.
  • Instillation of antimicrobials or antiseptics directly into the bladder may have some benefit under specific circumstances (i.e. recurrent infections where the underlying cause cannot be located or treated) but is a an option that has not, to date, been adequately evaluated in pets.
  • Cranberry extract/concentrates/juice has been used in humans to help control urinary tract infections. In animals, these products are unproven. It is also important to remember that not all cranberry products are made equally.
  • D-mannose is a drug that has been recommended for E. coli infections. However, this is a neutriceutical that has not been tested in animals.
  • The root of Coleus forskholii (forskalin) is available as an herbal supplement and has been suggested as a potential treatment for E. coli infection. No published evidence supports its use in pets.
  • In humans, bacteria which are known to cause asymptomatic urinary tract infections are sometimes used to infect the urinary tract, hoping to replace the disease-causing bacteria with the non-disease-causing bacteria. In healthy dogs, colonization for long periods of time with these organisms has not been successful. However, we do not know whether the same is true in dogs with unhealthy urinary tracts.

This article is posted and shared through the courtesy of the Pet Health Care Gazette