What is cystitis?
Cystitis is a general term for any inflammation of the urinary bladder.
What causes cystitis?
A number of diseases and conditions can cause cystitis. The most common cause of cystitis in dogs is an infection caused by bacteria. Other common causes include bladder stones, tumors, or polyps in the bladder, and abnormal anatomy (especially in female dogs). Some dogs will experience interstitial or sterile cystitis, a condition that causes inflammation and associated clinical signs without any infection. You may have heard of this type of inflammatory cystitis in people.
What are the clinical signs of cystitis?
The most common clinical sign of cystitis is hematuria or blood in the urine. Cystitis also causes discomfort and pain. Dogs with cystitis may spend several minutes squatting and straining (dysuria) to produce only a small amount of urine, and they may urinate more frequently than normal (pollakiuria). Many pet owners report observing their pet squatting frequently and dribbling little spots of urine in multiple locations.
Cystitis caused by bacterial infections usually cause hematuria and dysuria.
Bladder stones, caused by excessive amounts of crystalline minerals in the urine, frequently form as a result of bladder infections. The crystals have sharp edges while the stones can have rough surfaces; both can cause irritation as they rub against the bladder wall. In severe cases, the bladder stones may block the urethra and obstruct the flow of urine, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
How to help dogs with cystitis?
It is very important to take immediate care of your dog to understand the cause behind the urinary symptoms. Many dogs with cystitis benefit from increased water consumption, either by drinking more water or eating a moist/canned diet, which will dilute the urine and help flush out bacteria, inflammatory debris, and dissolved crystals.