Bladder Infections in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment
Cystitis is a bacterial infection of the lining of the bladder. Urethral
infections in both males and females often precede bouts of cystitis. Other
predisposing causes include increasing age, diabetes mellitus, and being on long-term
corticosteroid therapy. In sexually intact males there may be a preexisting prostatitis. Dogs
who go long periods of time without eliminating have a greater risk of
developing bladder infections.
Urinary stones can occur as a result of cystitis. The bacteria form a nidus
(a central point) around which the stone develops.
When and how to treat depends on the number of heartworms, their location, any
medical complications (such as congestive heart failure or
liver or kidney disease), the age and condition of the dog,
and the presence of circulating microfilariae. After a thorough medical
examination, your veterinarian will discuss these options and recommend a
treatment program based on the findings.
For dogs with uncomplicated heartworm disease, the objectives are to
eliminate all adult worms, kill the microfilariae
The principal sign of cystitis is frequent, painful
urination. The urine may appear cloudy and have an abnormal odor. Females
with cystitis may lick at the vulva and have a vaginal discharge. The diagnosis
is confirmed by a urinalysis showing bacteria, white blood cells, and
often red blood cells in the urine.
Treatment: Cystitis should be treated promptly to prevent kidney infection.
Your veterinarian will prescribe an oral antibiotic that is effective against
the bacteria in question. Antibiotics are administered for two to three weeks,
after which the urine should be checked again to be sure the infection has been
Urinary acidifiers may be used to help prevent bacteria from adhering to the
bladder wall. Blackberries and raspberries have compounds called ellagitannins
that prevent bacterial adhesions to the bladder wall. Cranberries have a
similar action, and all of these berries may help to lower urine pH. A second
attack suggests a secondary problem, such as bladder stones, and the need for a
veterinary workup. X-rays or an ultrasound may be done at this time. The second
attack is treated with antibiotics selected on the basis of culture and
sensitivity tests. A follow-up urine culture is obtained one to two months
after discontinuing treatment. Chronic forms of cystitis may require the use of
urinary antiseptics or long-term antibiotics given at bedtime.
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been shown to help some cats with
recurrent urinary infections. These are safe supplements that might help
dogs-although so far there is no evidence that they affect urinary tract
problems in dogs.
WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"