Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Pee?

By now, it should be your mantra–blood doesn’t belong outside the blood vessels. Urine is no exception. There should never be any visible blood in your dog’s pee.

Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog's Pee?

When you see blood and recognize it as such, it is what is referred to as frank blood. In other words, it is blood that is fresh, bright red and looks like blood. The longer blood spends outside the bloodstream, the darker it gets. It can turn brown, even black.

All your dog’s blood passes through the kidneys. That’s where waste and excess fluid get filtered out. The filtered blood goes back into the bloodstream while the waste, in the form of urine, is eliminated. When everything is functioning normally, the kidneys are designed in such a way so that blood cells don’t make it through.

How does fresh blood get in the urine?

The two major types of scenarios that can result in blood in the urine are diseases that lead to damage of tissues in the urinary tract, or conditions that cause abnormal bleeding.

Any condition that messes with normal clotting can result in bleeding anywhere in the body, including the urinary tract.

The potential reasons behind abnormal clotting are toxicity, infections or auto-immune disease. Inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) can cause blood vessels to be unable to contain the circulating blood.

The most common cause is blood leaking into the urinary tract due to tissue damage.

Number one suspects are a urinary tract infection (UTI) or urinary tract stones. The damage from urinary tract stones seems self-explanatory. But how does an infection cause bleeding? The presence of bacteria triggers an immune response that triggers inflammation which allows blood to leak from vessels.

Trauma, inflammation caused by things other than infection, or cancer too can cause bleeding into the urinary tract. This is not a complete list of potential causes. But it illustrates the importance of recognizing that blood in your dog’s urine is a serious symptom.

The most likely other changes you might notice include increased frequency of urination (not increased volume) and straining.

Related articles:
What’s In The Urine?

Further reading:
Blood in the Urine in Dogs

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Jana Rade edited by Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience. Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc is our wonderful sponsor and has been kind to edit and fact-check my important articles.

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