What Causes Cystitis in Dogs?

The question what causes cystitis in dogs may have multiple responses and you may be interested in these, so that you know and avoid this issue in the future. Cystitis is the infection of the urinary bladder and can be treated with antibiotics.

Causes of Dog Cystitis

Most commonly, cystitis is caused by bacteria that reach the bladder and result in the infection. The bacteria can get to the urinary bladder through the rectum or the urethra. Due to the fact that female dogs have a shorter and wider urethra, they are more exposed to developing cystitis. Cystitis may also be caused by growing bacteria in the urinary bladder, which can be the result of a kidney infection or a kidney disease. Liver disease may also be the cause of bacterial accumulation in the bladder and an infection, as the dog cannot properly eliminate the urine and the bacteria can develop and multiply in the area.

Other causes of cystitis may include:

  • The presence or bladder stones
  • Kidney stones
  • Polyps in the digestive tract
  • Tumors in the bladder or the area

These underlying causes that lead to bladder infection will typically cause recurrent infections. Even if you succeed in treating an initial infection, you may find that the dog develops the infection again within a few weeks of the first one.

Symptoms of Cystitis in Dogs

Cystitis will cause a number of symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. It may happen that the dog has both a bladder and a urinary tract infection at the same time. Watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Change of color of the urine
  • The dog is straining to urinate
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Frequent licking of the genital area

Diagnosing Canine Cystitis

Cystitis can be diagnosed based on the dog’s symptoms and on a urine test. The urine test will contain the bacteria that cause the infection. However, the vet may also choose to perform additional tests, which could help in diagnosing a possible underlying condition that causes cystitis. You should let your vet know if the condition is recurrent. If your dog has 1 or 2 infection per year, this doesn’t mean that the condition is recurrent, but if your pet has bladder infections every month, this may indicate that there is an underlying condition that makes cystitis recurrent. X-rays and ultrasounds can indicate if there are stones, polyps or any tumors in the digestive system area.

Cystitis Treatment Options

The treatment of cystitis will consist of antibiotics and possibly some pain medication, if the dog experiences severe pain when urinating. If the cystitis is caused by an underlying condition, the vet will apply treatment for this condition as well. The treatment may be made up of a change in diet, which can eliminate possible bladder or kidney stones or may be indicated if the dog has a kidney or a liver problem. In extreme cases, the dog will require surgery, to remove the stones that cause a urinary occlusion.