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Pet Talk

 Dr Ann Chauvet Dr. Chauvet earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon,Canada,and is known internationally for her specialized work in the relatively rare field of veterinary neurology speaking to, training, and consulting with veterinary practices and organizations globally.

My beagle girl had three UTIs in the past few months. What could be the cause and how to prevent it?

Urinary tract infections are common in dogs. They are often caused by ascending bacteria (bacteria climbing up). The more basic (high pH) the urine is, the more susceptible it is for the bacteria to grow. There are multiple types of bacteria: some can be in the urine itself; other types can get lodged in the wall of the bladder. The reason urinary infection is recurring, could lie in not high enough dose of antibiotic, or too short treatment. It is also possible that the treatment is aimed at the wrong type of bacteria. Another reason for returning infections could be crystals or stones in the bladder and those often are diet related. Some dietary supplements help minimize infection by preventing bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. Blueberry and cranberry supplements can help. My best advice is to order urine cultures and urine analysis tests, then treat well enough and long enough with correct antibiotic and the support of good dietary supplements. If that does not work, then you may have to get more involved and look for other issues such as congenital malformations of the urinary tract, cancers, etc.

What is the difference between X-Ray, MRI and Cat Scan?

Excellent question. X-radiation (composed of X-rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation. The X-ray is an invisible beam that is projected to obtain a radiograph. Radiographs allow us to obtain a two-dimensional view of the body part in black and white varied contrast depending on the tissue density. The more dense the tissue (liver, bone) the brighter it appears on an image.

A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. It is excellent for generating images of the entire body with more detail for vascular and bone structures. It is very fast and involves, like radiographs, radiation. Movement does not affect CT imaging much. Reconstruction of the images can be very helpful for 3D visualization of the body structure.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to investigate the anatomy and function of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form images. MRI is particularly great for imaging soft (non-bone) tissue. It is very movement sensitive and generally takes much longer than CT Scan and X-Ray to obtain images. The detail of structures, such as brain and spinal cord is amazing.

How are large bladder or kidney stones treated in cats?

Bladder stones are treated by diet or surgical removal (cystotomy) depending on their type. Kidney stones are usually left alone due to the complexity of the removal and the frequent complications.