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
- anatomical abnormalities
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
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.
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.
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.
Cassie Suffers with Cystitis
Cystitis in Dogs