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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Bladder Infection (Cystitis)




Condition Overview

Cystistis is a bacterial infection of the lining of the bladder.


The principal sign of cystitis is frequent, painful urination. The urine may appear cloudy and have an abnormal color. Females with cystitis may lick at the vulva and have a vaginal discharge.


Urethral infections in both males and females often precede bouts of cystitis. Other predisposing causes include increased age, diabetes mellitus, and being on long-term corticosteroid therapy. In un-neutered males, there may be a pre-existing prostatitis. Dogs who go long periods of time without elminating have a greater risk of developing bladder infections.

Urinary stones can occur as a result of cystitis. The bacteria form a nidus (central point) around which the stone develops.


The diagnosis is confirmed by a urinalysis showing bacteria, white blood cells, and often red blood cells in the urine.


Cystitis should be treated promptly to prevent kidney infection. Your veterinarian will prescribe an oral antibiotic that is effective against the bacteria in question. Antibiotics are administered for 2 - 3 weeks, after which the urine should be checked again to be sure the infection has been eliminated.

Urinary acidifiers may be used to help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. Blackberries and raspberries have compounds called ellagitannins that bacterial adhesions to the bladder wall. Cranberries have a similar action, and all of these berries may help to lower urine pH.

A second attack suggests a secondary problem, such as bladder stones, and the need for a veterinary workup. X-rays or an ultrasound may be done at this time. The second attack is treated with antibiotics selected on the basis of culture and sensitivity tests. A follow-up urine culture is obtained 1 - 2 months after discontinuing treatment.

Chronic forms ofcystitis may require the use of urinary antiseptics or long term antibiotics given at bedtime.

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been shown to help some cats with recurrent urinary tract infections. These are safe supplements that might help dogs - although there is no current evidence to show that they affect urinary tract problems in dogs.


Information needed.


Please contact your veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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