Cystitis is an inflammation of the urinary bladder usually the result of a bacterial infection. Although Bacterial Cystitis is easily treated with antibiotics, Cystitis could be sign of more serious health complications including; stones, cancer, neurological disorders, or diseases of the liver or kidneys which would require further diagnostics and treatments.
* What to look out for
A dog suffering from Cystitis will find urination to be very painful. An owner may notice the dog struggling to urinate with very little results. In addition, dogs with Cystitis will often urinate more frequently, have a heightened sense of urgency, relieve themselves in inappropriate places, and/or have blood in their urine.
* What is the underlying cause
The easiest way for an otherwise healthy dog to develop a bladder infection that results in Cystitis is by bacteria traveling from the dog's rectum to the urethra and then ascending into the bladder. Infections that are otherwise harmless in the digestive tract can spread in this fashion to the animal's urinary tract where they cause problems with normal function causing the dog to become ill.
Bacteria may at times grow within the bladder itself as well. A dog suffering from a kidney or liver disease may not be able to adequately evacuate their bladder allowing the bacteria within the urine to grow resulting in a similar infection and inflammation of the urinary bladder.
Cystitis can occur however without a bacterial cause. Stone, polyps, or tumors in the bladder can cause inflammation that presents itself with similar symptoms, but requires a different treatment. At times both can occur simultaneously as well. Stones left untreated may block urine flow allowing bacteria to grow or the inverse could happen where urine trapped in an inflamed bladder due to infection becomes concentrated and materializes causing stones.
* What treatment is available
If a dog presents itself with any of the symptoms of Cystitis they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. For an animal suffering from Cystitis without stones caused by a bacterium such as Staphylococcus a simple course of antibiotics should clear up the infection. If stones are found they will often need to be cleared up before the bacteria could be completely eradicated.
Stones can at times be cleared up by changing the animal's diet and/or using oral urinary acidifiers. The goal of the diet change and the acidifiers is to increase and maintain an acidity of around 6.5 on the pH scale, at this level stones will dissolve on their own in around three to six weeks. In instances where the stones do not go away, or if a more rapid treatment is required, surgery is a very quick effective treatment.
In cases where the cause of blockage and inflammation is found to be tumors or polyps the vet will need to biopsy the affected areas to be certain they are not cancerous and remove them surgically.
After a dog has been treated an owner may wish to take further precautions to prevent the infections return. Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to prevent Cystitis. One easy solution is salting your dog's food. This will cause them to drink more water and consequently urinate more frequently thus clearing out their urinary tract. Another simple addition to your dog's daily regiment is Vitamin-C. This will help keep the acidity of your dog's urine high and prevent bacteria or stones from growing. Remember that you dog must be allow to urinate when it needs to; making it wait can allow bacteria to grow and infection to set in.
Cystitis on its own is not a life threatening emergency unless it goes untreated, however it can be a sign of a greater underlying cause and requires proper medical attention. Do not ignore the symptoms of Cystitis or treat it on your own without a veterinarian's guide. If you notice something wrong take your dog to the vet, although 95% of the time Cystitis is the result of bacteria it should never be taken lightly.