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Monday, January 7, 2008

Bloody Pee

Kosmo, our 10-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, went outside Saturday morning and peed red. It was awful, especially in the clean white snow we'd had the night before.

He'd been exhibiting signs of discomfort for about 36 hours prior to this. He'd acted as if it were painful for him to move much, and he'd been panting a lot. So when we saw this bloody urine, we knew for sure there was a problem.

It was a weekend, with no vets available in this little corner of winter paradise until Monday morning. I gave him some Cephalexin we'd had on hand for a previous dog infection, and an anti-inflammatory to ease his discomfort. He made it through the weekend okay, and actually seemed to feel much better by Sunday evening.

Monday we brought him and a fresh morning urine sample to our local vet, Dr. Mindi Wilson, who was back on duty. She examined the urine, examined Kosmo, and pronounced him amazingly fit and healthy for such an aged dog of his breed. The urine, while very concentrated (dark yellow), was free of crystals and a whole bunch of other bad things. There were still a few white blood cells in it, indicating a minor infection. But since his urine flow was good, and he didn't show any other signs of distress, she diagnosed it as a simple bladder infection and prescribed Clavamox for about a week.

Dr. Wilson, a 2002 graduate of Purdue University Veterinary School, had high praise for Kosmo's diet: Flint River Ranch Senior Plus kibble. "I treat a lot of dogs who eat lower quality dog food and table scraps," she said. "They're very prone to kidney stones and a variety of infections. But when you feed a dog something as good as Flint River, you're going to have a lot fewer problems."

"This dog," she said of Kosmo, "certainly doesn't look or act like a 10-year-old dog, and your food [Flint River Ranch] has a lot to do with that." She was particularly pleased with the pH of his urine, which indicated the 16% protein of the senior diet was just fine for him.

Dr. Mindi sells Hills' Science Diet, like most other vets. But she admits the Flint River Ranch is probably superior. It got high reviews in her nutrition class at Purdue.

That was really good news because, frankly, I expected her to prescribe a Hills R/D or similar prescription diet made by the Hills company. Knowing how it compares with Flint River Ranch, I really didn't want to switch. Kosmo loves his Flint River.

By the way, bladder infections can start up spontaneously, but may be aggravated by factors like not drinking enough water, not urinating frequently enough, eating improper food, or simply living an unhealthful life style. Symptoms may include dribbling of urine, painful and unsuccessful attempts to urinate, bloody or discolored urine, a lethargic attitude, and even bad breath. Any time you see your dog exhibiting these types of distress or others indicating abnormal discomfort, get to a veterinarian ASAP. You could be dealing with a bladder infection, kidney stones, or even bladder cancer, all of which can be extremely painful to your dog.

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