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I have a nine-year-old Dalmatian. He has not been castrated and recently I noticed he was passing a little blood in his urine. What could be causing this?

James Farrell advises…

Frank (bright red) blood in the urine of a male, entire dog can be caused by benign prostate hyperplasia. The prostate gland can become enlarged in response to male hormones, and this then causes blood to leak into the urinary tract. A visit to the vet for an injection will usually fix it in the short term, but castration is the best solution.

Dalmatians are also prone to bladder stones; a gene mutation means their urine has a higher than normal level of uric acid, which leads to the formation of these stones inside the bladder. Small stones being passed, or larger stones damaging the bladder lining, can also cause blood to be present in the urine. If a stone was to get stuck down the narrow male urethra on leaving the bladder, then this is a serious problem. The dog would not be able to pass any urine, and veterinary attention must be sought immediately.

Other possible causes may include urinary tract infection, and, occasionally, cancer. Tumours of the prostate and bladder are rare in dogs, so this is unlikely, but if they do occur, they are serious, so it’s important to rule them out. Your vet may therefore suggest further tests, such as X-rays and ultrasound, to make a firm diagnosis.

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