Cystitis in Dog – Answers To Your Burning Questions

The medical term cystitis simply means inflammation of the urinary bladder. This is usually caused by an infection due to bacteria. Other causes of cystitis are bladder stones, tumors in the bladder and diverticula.

The most common sign of cystitis in dog is hematuria or blood in the urine. Many dogs will also have discomfort when urinating making them spend a few minutes to pass through a small amount of urine making them urinate more often than normal. Signs of cystitis in dogs are also determined by the specific cause. Bacterial infections usually cause hematuria and dysuria or straining to urinate. Bladder stones are often very rough causing irritation to the bladder as they rub against the bladder wall. They also create hematuria and dysuria. Tumors or polyps are usually not highly irritating to the dog’s bladder, but they can cause bleeding and mild straining to urinate. A diverticulum is a small pouch in the wall of the bladder that usually causes hematuria and dysuria secondary to the chronic bacterial infection that occurs. Bacteria often reside deep in the diverticulum and are nearly impossible to remove without surgery.

To diagnose for possible cystitis in dog, check the dog's history for hematuria, dysuria, and increased frequency of urination. These a very strong indications that the dog may have cystitis. If these symptoms are seen, several tests are then needed.

The first group of tests include urinalysis, urine culture, and bladder palpation. A urinalysis consists of several tests to detect abnormalities in the urine, including abnormalities in the urine sediment. These are usually enough to confirm cystitis in dogs, but they are not enough to determine the exact cause. A urine culture determines if bacteria are present and what antibiotics are likely to be effective in killing them. This is appropriate because most cases of cystitis are caused by bacteria which may be eliminated easily with antibiotics. Bladder palpation is the first test for bladder stones, since many are large enough to be felt by experienced fingers.

There may be times when cystitis is present but the culture is negative and no stones can be felt. This would require more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and contrast radiographs. These tests will show what other tests will not.

Treatment for cystitis in dogs may depend on the cause. If it was caused by bacteria, it is easily treated with antibiotics. As for bladder stones, some of them may be dissolved through a special diet while some may require surgery. Benign bladder polyps can usually be surgically removed, but malignant bladder tumors are difficult to treat successfully. A bladder diverticulum should be removed surgically.

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