Dr. Jennifer
Will cranberries and antibiotics help clear up
my diabetic dog, Cookie's urinary tract infection?

This question was posted on the Rainbow Pet Diabetes Email List.

Dr Jen, 
Cookie has bladder stones so that explains why the UTI doesn't go away. She is on Actigall for the bladder stones but it does sound like we need to keep the antibiotics going forever now. Our plan is to be off the Clavamox for 5 days once this course is done then go back on for 10 days and to keep that pattern up. Does that sound reasonable.

Also will the cranberry help Cookie as well?

Roy & Cookie

Yes Cranberry would help...it won't hurt.  I would recommend starting at one human capsule twice daily (they don't usually like the juice)...I am not sure how much your dog weighs so she may need more.  If there were calcium stones though you do want to be careful about keeping the urine pH neutral.  If there were struvites, then you must keep the urine acidic and can add Vitamin C into the diet.  I think you can buy pH strips if you want to monitor urine pH. 

As far as the antibiotics go, pulse therapy does work.  Long term antibiotic therapy is not ideal because not only are you killing the urinary infection you are killing the good bacteria in the intestines, etc.  So while on antibiotics, make sure to give some type of probiotic like acidophilus or live-active cultured yogurt.  Dogs are not as suspectible to yeast infections like people but anitibiotics can do some harm. 

Just remember if the infection is not totally cleared it will come right back (could take a few weeks to notice) which is the reason for culturing the urine during the medication to make sure it is working and then after the medicine is finished to make sure it was successful.  If you have not had a culture, get one done!  I do have a patient who is on long term Baytril therapy since she had 3 bladder surgeries and chronic infections even though she is not diabetic....sometimes it is necessary, but most times I think it can be avoided.  Some dogs have conformational problems that make them more susceptible to infection and of course females are more so because of anatomy.

Dr. J

More from Dr. Jennifer on UTI'S
I would recommend urine culture and sensitivities to determine what bacteria is growing.   I have sense many bacteria resistant to Baytril even though it is one of our big-gun anitibiotics.  UTIs are common in diabetics; however, they usually are fairly easy to treat.  If they are persistant then I would recommend long term treatment with CRANBERRY (good for any person or animal to help treat and prevent UTI) in addition to a at least a 4-6 week course of antibiotics.  To ensure the antibiotics are working, a culture should be done mid-treatment and then again when off the antibiotics. Cranberry prevents the bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall--it isn't just an old wive's tale...it really helps.  Cranberry also helps make the urine a bit more acidic which makes the environment unsuitable.  You can also give Vitamin C (10 mg per pound) twice daily to help reduce the pH of the urine.   The other thing to consider is checking for bladder stones as struvite stones are usually infection related and UTIs won't clear up if there are stones in the bladder.  Another thing to consider is supplementation to stregthen the immune system such as Echinacea (be careful if your pet has allergies and it is best given on 10 days, then off and back on), Noni or 
Transfer Factor  http://www.transferfactor.com/

Cranberry Extract is high in Vitamin C and prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.  Women who drink a pint of juice a day had 63% reduction in recurrence of urinary tract infections.  And YES YOU CAN GIVE IT TO YOUR PETS!!!!  One 3000 mg capsule is equivalent to 24 ounces of  cranberry juice. 

Dosing schedule…1/8 capsule for cats & small dogs, ¼ capsule for medium dogs, ½ capsule for large dogs and 1 capsule for giant breed dogs.  Give THREE times a day.

From the premiere issue of
Antietam Valley Animal Hospital's newsletter
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 Read More on the herb Cranberry Here

CRANBERRY (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Available in the following forms:
Fresh or dried fruit 

Guidelines for Use:
Cranberry has no known interactions with antibiotics or other medications.But by acidifying the urine, cranberry may lessen the effect of another herb sometimes used for UTIs called
uva ursi (also known as bearberry). Try one or the other. 

I wrote asking Dr. Jen about using uva ursi.
Yes Uva Ursi can be used but should be used SHORT TERM since it lowers potassium levels...not sure about cats....I attached some notes I took from a lecture on supplements for urinary tract, kidney disease and heart disease....may be useful.

 Click Here to read Her notes on Supplements that help

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