Update on the treatment of urinary tract infections in dogs and cats

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F. Mortier

S. Marynissen

E. Stock

S. Daminet

D. Paepe

Published Jun 30, 2021


The duration of antimicrobial treatment of bacterial urinary tract infections in small animals is usually longer than in human medicine and there is a suspicion that the duration of treatment in dogs and cats as advised in the 2011 guidelines may be too long. Longer treatment duration causes a higher cost for the owner and potentially more side effects for the pet, as well as an increased risk for the development of antimicrobial resistance in animals and people. In 2019, new guidelines were published by the ‘International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases’ on the diagnosis and management of bacterial urinary tract infections in dogs and cats. The aim of the present article is to provide an overview of the recommended treatment (choice of antimicrobial drug and duration of therapy) for the different types of bacterial urinary tract infection in small animals. Also, practical tips are given to definitively diagnose a urinary tract infection. In that way, first certainty can be obtained about the presence of a bacterial infection as the cause of the clinical signs present, and subsequently, a well-advised antibiotic choice can be made based on the type of urinary tract infection and the antimicrobial susceptibility pattern. The role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in controlling lower urinary tract signs, while awaiting urine culture results, is discussed. Last but not least, it is important to realize that not every positive urine culture should lead to antimicrobial therapy.

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