Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) not only affect us humans, but  Cystitis and UTI’s in dogs is also common and the causes are numerous.

A healthy urinary tract is sterile. UTI’s occur when an infection of the urinary tract is present, most commonly this involves an overgrowth of bacteria in the bladder. Bacteria cause inflammation in the bladder, this is called Cystitis.

Other common causes of Cystitis and UTI’s in dogs include bladder stones, tumours and polyps. Kidney disease (infection, stones and tumours) are less common in dogs but may cause similar symptoms as does prostate disease.

With so many affected areas potentially causing the same issues, it’s super important to get your pet checked out as soon as any symptoms present themselves.

Know the symptoms

Some symptoms to look out for include blood in the urine, excessive urination or straining to urinate, much the same as humans experience, but quite possibly a lot more subtle (your pooch doesn’t want you to know it’s unwell!)

If you suspect your dog has symptoms of a Urinary Tract Disease then a visit to your vet is the best way to rule out this potentially nasty disease. It’s also important to remember that obstruction of the urinary tract can be an emergency and breeds such as Dalmations are particularly at risk of this due their predisposition to develop urate stones.

The diagnosis process

After a thorough examination, your Vet will collect a urine sample and a number of laboratory tests will be performed. These include a dipstick test, (which tests the urine pH, presence of protein, white and red blood cells as well as glucose, such as is the case in diabetes) and specific gravity analysis.

A sediment examination under the microscope may also be done. This allows identification of crystals, bacteria and other cells which help with the diagnosis.

If required, the urine will be sent an off site laboratory for microscopy, culture and sensitivity testing (MC&S). This determines the type of bacteria that is present and antibiotics that will be effective against it.

Other common tests that may be performed to help identify bladder and kidney stones, tumours and prostate disease include ultrasounds and X-rays. A blood sample may also be taken.

The treatment for Cystitis and UTI’s in dogs

Infections are treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. It is imperative that your dog completes the entire antibiotic course otherwise you run the risk of not clearing the infection and creating antibiotic resistance.

If a bladder stone is identified and depending on it’s type, a prescription diet may be used to dissolve the stone. Other stones require surgical removal as do polyps and tumours. Veterinary oncology has advanced considerably, so it’s worth considering treatment of tumours if the type and location allow it.

Prostate disease in dogs is often benign and responds well to medical treatment. Prostate cancer also responds to chemotherapy.

How pet insurance can help

To help ensure  you and your pet are covered for illness and disease such as Cystitis and UTI’s, it’s worth considering getting pet insurance for your dog or cat to help cover the costs of treatment.   It can provide peace of mind and support with applicable vet and surgery costs if the need arises.

You can find out more and get a quote for covering your dog &/or cat with HIF Australia here.


About the Author: Dr Melissa Meehan BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Int Med) Dr Melissa Meehan is a highly experienced and respected veterinary surgeon with over 14 years experience. Dr Melissa obtained her Members in Small Animal Medicine through examination in 2008 and now runs her own veterinary ophthalmology service