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Recognize & Treat Cystitis in Dogs

Cystitis is a fairly common condition in dogs and can affect both genders at all ages. However, older animals suffer from cystitis more often than young ones and females more often than males.

What is cystitis?

Bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is an inflammation of the lower and lower urinary tract. In addition to the bladder itself, other areas of the urinary tract are often affected, such as the urethra. Bladder infections in dogs can be infectious or sterile (non-contagious).

Infectious bladder infections are usually caused by the following pathogens:

  • Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), staphylococci, and streptococci
  • Mycoplasma – these are bacteria that do not have a cell wall
  • Fungi such as Candida albicans
  • Parasites such as Capillaria plica, a species of hairworm

Most infectious bladder infections in dogs are caused by bacteria. Infections with mycoplasma, fungi, or parasites are rather rare.

Parasite transmission occurs only through direct transmission from the infected dog’s urethra to the infected animal’s urinary tract. This is possible, for example, when mating or when swimming together. Transmission of the pathogen is theoretically also possible by licking the genital area but is rather unlikely.

Causes of non-infectious cystitis:

  • Malformations of the urinary tract
  • Tumor in the bladder or urethra
  • bladder stones
  • Urinary concretions, i.e. crystalline deposits of the urinary tract

Non-infectious bladder infections are rare. These are usually caused by bladder stones that irritate the mucous membrane of the bladder and lead to inflammation. When dogs’ immune systems are compromised due to another underlying condition, such as diabetes mellitus, there is a chance for naturally occurring bacteria in the urinary tract to multiply and result in cystitis. Typical symptoms of cystitis are increased urination, an unpleasant odor in the urine, or blood in the urine.

How do you recognize a bladder infection in dogs?

The main symptom that you as the owner will notice first is your dog’s increased urge to urinate. So it may be that your four-legged friend suddenly pees a lot or urinates in places that are otherwise taboo, such as in the apartment. Due to pain, it is also possible that your animal only urinates small amounts, but urinates quite frequently and over a longer period of time. Some animals even try to stop urinating altogether because of the pain.

The following symptoms indicate a bladder infection in dogs:

  • noticeable, increased urge to urinate
  • frequent passing of rather small amounts of urine
  • pain when urinating
  • Urinating in unusual places, uncleanliness
  • malaise, listlessness
  • no or a visibly disturbed urination
  • blood in the urine
  • the noticeable odor of the urine
  • fever in severe infections

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in your dog, do not hesitate and consult your veterinarian. It works quickly and easily with Dr. Fressnapf during the online consultation hours. Our experienced veterinarians will give you initial advice and, if necessary, assess your pet via video chat. It is also possible for you to describe your case to our team via chat without a camera at first. You can even get an initial assessment of whether our veterinarians can diagnose the bladder infection online or whether it is essential to go to the stationary veterinary practice this way. A veterinarian can help your pet quickly before the symptoms worsen or complications arise.

What forms of cystitis are there?

A basic distinction is made between acute and chronic cystitis in dogs. Acute cystitis usually comes on quickly and suddenly and is usually caused by bacteria. When a dog develops cystitis continuously or over a short period of time, it is called chronic cystitis, which can be of two types.

Recurrent cystitis: This is a recurring inflammation. The causes are usually pathogens that survive in the urinary tract of the animal or in the prostate of male dogs and lead to new infections. Too low a dosage of medication or the administration of the wrong antibiotic can also be a cause of recurrent cystitis. Multi-resistant germs can also be responsible for chronic cystitis.

Reinfections:  These are inflammations with one or more new pathogens that occur again and again within a year. The original pathogen is not important in this form of cystitis. Animals with a weakened immune system are particularly susceptible to reinfection.

How does the vet diagnose a bladder infection in dogs?

To diagnose a bladder infection, the vet will first examine your dog’s urine. For this, he needs a urine sample from your four-legged friend, which you must collect in a clean container and which should not be older than three hours. Then the urine sample is examined for germs, blood, bacteria, urinary stones, and other parameters. Your vet can usually make an accurate diagnosis based on the urine sample. If anything is unclear, a blood test, an ultrasound, or an X-ray may be carried out.

What can I do if my dog ​​has a bladder infection?

First of all, it is important that you carry out the veterinary treatment conscientiously. This means that you give your dog pills such as antibiotics in the correct dosage, at the specified time intervals, and for the prescribed duration. Please make sure that your dog does not catch a cold as a preventive measure and during a bladder infection. If he gets wet on a walk, dry him off thoroughly and offer him a warm spot in his dog bed. Stop him from lying down on cold flagstones or other cool floors. You can relieve pain caused by the bladder infection by placing a slightly warmed, not too hot water bottle under your pet’s stomach.

If your dog has cystitis, avoid stress in any form and encourage him to drink a lot. To give your dog additional fluids, you can, for example, moisten the dry food, give him only wet food and some broth or a little sausage water in the drinking water.

Some bubble teas suitable for dogs, such as horsetail or nettle tea, can also have a supportive effect. Ask your vet about this. In most cases, a bladder infection in dogs heals completely with the right diagnosis and medication and your beloved four-legged friend will soon be fit again.

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