Canine Cystitis: Cassie’s Bladder Inflammation

Cystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the bladder.

Not unlike many other medical terms, it is strictly a description of the problem—in this case, a bladder that is inflamed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you anything about the cause; just the result.

That said, the most common cause of bladder inflammation is a bacterial infection. Other potential common causes include:

  • bladder stones
  • polyps
  • anatomical abnormalities
  • tumors

The most common symptom your dog will show if they have cystitis is blood in their pee. Because bladder inflammation is painful, you might also notice:

  • signs of discomfort and pain
  • difficulty urinating or straining to urinate
  • frequent urination with reduced urine flow
  • prolonged or frequent squating
  • urine dribbling

Further information: Cystitis in Dogs

Canine Cystitis: Cassie's Bladder Inflammation

Cassie’s story

Cassie was a senior Bichon Frise, a loving companion to her mom. Over the years, she had her share of medical issue, particularly serious digestive issues. Cassie’s tummy only felt happy on a special low-fat diet. With that measure, however, her mom kept it in check.

However, Cassie’s body came up with a new way of causing trouble—bladder inflammation with frequent UTIs. The first time it happen, Cassie’s mom got really worried. Cassie couldn’t sleep all night, pacing around and asking to go to pee. It wasn’t like her at all; normally, Cassie slept soundly and didn’t get up until everybody else did.

Blood in Cassie’s pee

In the light of the day, Cassie’s mom realized that not only Cassie had the constant urge to pee but there was blood in her urine too. Further, Cassie continued to squat even though no urine was coming out.

Her mom took Cassie to a veterinarian at once, and they started treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI). The treatment indeed made Cassie feel better, and the problem went away.

It happens again

About half a year later, it happened again. When urinary tract infections come back, it is time to investigate what might be going on. The veterinarian did a full analysis of Cassie’s urine and took x-rays of her belly, looking for bladder stones.

The findings

Cassie didn’t have any bladder stones, but her pee contained oxalate crystals. Something like that could irritate the bladder tissues for sure. And once the bladder walls are irritated and inflamed, bacteria like to move in.

While an antibiotic treatment does deal with the bacteria, it was important to develop a long-term solution. The most common reason why some dogs are susceptible to developing oxalate crystals and stones (uroliths) seems to be a genetic predisposition. Bichon Frises are one of those breeds.

The strategy

Because diet can contribute to the problem, Cassie needed a special diet to reduce the chance of the formation of the crystals. However, Cassie’s dietary options were already complicated. Fortunately, the veterinarian found a formulation that met all the criteria for Cassie.

It seemed to be a winning strategy. For two years, Cassie had no further problems. And then the cystitis returned anyway.

Yet again, Cassie couldn’t settle at night and started having urinary accidents. Cassie’s mom, armed with a fresh urine sample, showed up at the clinic the next morning.

Severe urinary infection

The veterinarian analyzed Cassie’s pee. Even though there was no visible blood, testing revealed there indeed was blood, protein and white blood cells in Cassie’s urine.

Yet again, the only place to start was with an antibiotic treatment to get things under control. At the same time, the veterinarian sent some of Cassie’s pee to a lab for a more detailed analysis.

The good news was, there were no crystals in her pee. It was possible that this time, Cassie developed a normal, garden-variety UTI. The culture showed bacteria that is commonly behind urinary tract infections in dogs, and it was sensitive to the antibiotic Cassie was getting.

Sometimes things can go from complicated back to simple. It is essential to take a close look rather than jump to conclusions.

With treatment, the UTI has cleared and Cassie is well again. Hopefully, for a long time.

Source story:
Cassie Suffers with Cystitis

Related articles:
My Dog’s Pee: What Can You Learn from Your Dog’s Urine
Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Pee?

Further reading:
Cystitis in Dogs

Categories: Dog health advocacy

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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