Pyelonephritis in Dogs: Retrospective Study of 47 Histologically Diagnosed Cases (2005-2015).

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The clinicopathologic aspects of pyelonephritis have not been reported in companion animals.


To evaluate the prevalence of pyelonephritis diagnosed in dogs in a academic referral population, describe the clinical signs and the diagnostic test results in dogs with pyelonephritis, and identify concurrent disorders in order to determine potential risk factors for pyelonephritis.


Forty-seven dogs with a histopathologic diagnosis of pyelonephritis from the teaching hospitals of three Canadian veterinary colleges.


Retrospective case series. Review of medical records and renal histologic sections.


Pyelonephritis was diagnosed in 0.4-1.3% of the cases at necropsy. Clinical signs included anorexia or inappetence (n = 27, 57%), lethargy (n = 24, 51%), vomiting (n = 17, 36%), and dehydration (n = 12, 25%). Thirty-five dogs (75%) had concomitant disease(s). Escherichia coli was the most common pathogen isolated (37%). Pyelonephritis was classified as acute (n = 12, 26%), subacute (n = 9, 19%), and chronic (n = 26, 55%) disease; and mild (n = 7, 15%), moderate (n = 11, 24%), and severe (n = 28, 61%). Fever was significantly associated with histopathologically subacute pyelonephritis (P = 0.01).


In referral hospitals, pyelonephritis has a very low prevalence at necropsy. Nonspecific clinical presentation, concomitant diseases, and high variability in the diagnostic tests results make the antemortem diagnosis of pyelonephritis challenging. Neither the histopathologic stage nor the severity of the pyelonephritis was associated with fever, lumbar pain, or signs of a urinary tract infection (ie, lower urinary tract infection, upper urinary tract infection, or both) except for subacute pyelonephritis which was associated with fever.

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