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The urogenital system includes the urinary and reproductive organs.
The urinary system is divided into two regions based on anatomy and function: upper (kidneys and ureters) and lower urinary (urinary bladder and urethra) tracts. The upper urinary tract filters metabolic wastes from the blood to be excreted into the urine. The kidneys also participate in blood pressure regulation and maintenance of the delicate electrolyte and water balance within the body-keeping only what is needed. The lower urinary tract serves as a reservoir for urine (bladder) and a pathway for excretion (urethra). Indications of a urinary tract problem are varied: excessive urination and drinking, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, odor to urine, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, incontinence, and lethargy.
The genital system consists of the reproductive organs: the uterus and ovaries. These organs produce hormones and allow reproduction. Signs associated with genital tract problems include: discharge, odor, straining to urinate and/or defecate, and lethargy.
Common urogenital ailments affecting dogs:
- Urinary tract infections (UTI): common in female dogs. Urinary tract infections in male dogs are uncommon due to the length of their urethra. UTI in a male dog may signal the presence of an underlying problem, such as bladder stones, poor immune function, or prostatic disease.
- Kidney failure: acute and chronic. Acute kidney failure can be caused by infections, kidney stones, toxins, and drugs to name a few. Aging pets may develop chronic kidney failure. Often, by the time chronic kidney failure is diagnosed, the cause cannot be determined.
- Urinary bladder stones : some stones form due to the presence of infection; others form by mineral imbalances in the urine. Kidney stones are less common.
- Uterine infections (pyometra) : may occur in intact females following a heat if pregnancy does not occur.