Bladder Problems In Dogs

Bladder problems can cause discomfort in dogs.

Bladder problems are a common health concern in dogs. The medical term for bladder trouble is cystitis, Greek for inflammation of the bladder. By any name, it causes discomfort and misery. People with cystitis describe a cramping, burning sensation when they attempt to void urine. Dogs with bladder trouble may display any or all of the following symptoms:

It's important to note that, apart from these nagging signs, most dogs with cystitis usually eat and act normally.

Causes of Cystitis in Dogs

Practically anything that creates irritation or inflammation of the bladder wall can cause cystitis. Common triggers, in order of prevalence, are:

It's important to note that bladder infections are neither contagious from one animal to another, nor from dogs to people. Anatomic differences make bladder infections much less likely to happen in male dogs as compared with females. In fact when a male dog has a bladder infection, there is usually another underlying cause, such as a prostate infection in an intact male, or bladder stones.

Diagnosis of Cystitis in Dogs

If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has cystitis, she or he will start with a full history and physical examination. This includes palpating (feeling) the bladder—rarely, stones can actually be felt from the outside—and examining the external urinary opening. Next, a urinalysis confirms the presence of infection or inflammation, crystals, bacteria or a pH imbalance. Many veterinarians will go ahead and treat a first-time cystitis without the need for further diagnostics. For recurring or complicated cases, the following tests are commonly indicated:

Cystoscopy, which employs a specially-designed endoscope to see inside the bladder, is another useful diagnostic tool. However, it is generally available only to specialists at large veterinary referral hospitals.

Treatment of Cystitis in Dogs

The treatment of canine cystitis depends on the cause.

Prevention of Cystitis in Dogs

It's not possible to prevent canine bladder problems altogether, but a few measures can help:

For more information on the causes of cystitis in dogs, see this article.

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