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What are Bladder diseases in dogs?

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Bladder diseases in dogs

Bladder diseases in dogs

The bladder is an unpaired hollow organ that stores urine. After the kidneys filter urine through the ureters, urine enters the bladder and is periodically expelled from it through the urethra (the process of urination). The dog’s bladder is part of the urinary system. It is situated in the abdominal cavity in front of the pubic crest, regardless of the degree of its filling. The bladder is very elastic and can stretch to store urine. At the same time, urine does not flow back into the ureters and does not flow out involuntarily, thanks to the sphincters of the bladder. The process of urination in a healthy dog ​​is controlled. Depending on the age and amount of liquid consumed, the dog may urinate several times a day (puppies more often). Adult dogs are usually trained to go to the toilet outside or a diaper in an apartment. However, don’t abuse your dog’s patience. Prolonged stagnation of urine in the bladder can cause diseases of the urinary system.
In dogs, inflammatory and non-inflammatory diseases of the bladder occur. Inflammatory conditions include cystitis. The most common non-inflammatory disease is urolithiasis or urolithiasis. Urolithiasis is not a bladder disease but rather a systemic metabolic pathology. Injuries of the bladder – bruises, and ruptures of the organ, as well as tumors, we will consider in this article.

1.Inflammatory diseases

The most common bladder disease in dogs is cystitis. Cystitis (from the Latin cystitis – bladder) is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bladder. The ending -itis indicates the inflammatory nature of this disease. Typically, the cause of cystitis in dogs is an infection. Bacteria can enter the bladder either ascending (most often from the vagina or dirty hair and skin around the vulva and anus) or descending (from the kidneys). Most often, females suffer from cystitis due to the peculiarities of the anatomical structure of the genital and excretory organs. Contrary to popular belief, cystitis in dogs is not associated with colds or hypothermia.

1.1. Symptoms.

Symptoms of cystitis are frequent urination; urine can be excreted in small portions, sometimes with blood. Urine may become more saturated in color and acquire a pungent odor. The dog is in pain. She can hunch over, tighten her hind legs, refuse to walk, or vice versa, constantly strive to the street. Frequent urge to urinate may not result in urine separation and may be accompanied by tenesmus (pain). The dog becomes sluggish and tired, and its appetite decreases.

Bladder diseases in dogs
Bladder diseases in dogs

1.2. Diagnosis and treatment.

If you notice these signs of cystitis in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of various diseases of the urinary system are similar, only a specialist can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

1.3. Prevention of cystitis.

First, the prevention of cystitis is the regular walking of the dog. You can’t force a dog to endure for a long time; you need to go outside with a domestic dog 2-3 times a day. Basic hygiene is essential. This is especially true for older bitches, dogs with a loose physique, and overweight, long-haired pets. In such dogs, the hair around the vulva and anus should be trimmed regularly, and the skin in this area should be washed and dried, paying attention to skin folds. To prevent cystitis, it is essential to have a completely balanced diet with a sufficient amount of easily digestible protein and the correct ratio of mineral elements in the diet. Fresh drinking water must be available.

2.Non-inflammatory diseases

  • Non-inflammatory diseases of the bladder include:
  • Urolithiasis (urolithiasis).
  • Neoplasms of the bladder (polyps, tumors).
  • Injuries (bruises, ruptures of the bladder).
  • Neurological disorders (neurogenic bladder syndrome, atony).

2.1. Urolithiasis

Urolithiasis (urolithiasis) is a disease characterized by accumulated uroliths in the bladder in the form of sand or more giant formations – stones. There are several types of uroliths in dogs.

Etiological factors (causes of urolithiasis) include cystitis, bladder infections, mineral metabolism disorders, malnutrition, insufficient water intake, and genetic predisposition.

Struvite stones are the most common bladder stones found in dogs. Most patients with struvite uroliths are female. Shih Tzu, pugs, cocker spaniels, miniature schnauzers, and miniature dachshunds are predisposed to this type of urolithiasis, and dogs of other breeds and mestizos may suffer. Perhaps this predisposition is associated with violating phosphorus-calcium metabolism in chondrodystrophic and dwarf breeds.
Often, struvite in dogs is associated with an infection. These are the uroliths that respond well to diet therapy. COMPLETE DRY FOOD PRO PLAN ® VETERINARY DIETS UR URINARY FOR ADULTS DOGS is a diet that promotes urine acidification and dissolution of struvite stones. It helps to minimize the breeding ground for urease-producing bacteria, as these organisms are known to be most commonly present in struvite-type urolithiasis.

Calcium oxalates (monohydrates and dihydrates). More common in males. Predisposed breeds are Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon, Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, and Shih Tzu. This type of uroliths is formed in an acidic or neutral environment (pH less than 6.5); it is not possible to dissolve them with the help of a diet; as a rule, calculi quickly grow to a significant size, and surgical intervention is required to remove them from the bladder.
Arts. Also more common in males. Among the breeds predisposed to the urate type of urolithiasis, Dalmatians lead by a wide margin. This leadership is associated with a mutation of the gene responsible for uric acid transport in dogs of this breed. Urates are also found in English bulldogs, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire terriers, and mestizos. Dietary dissolution of urate stones in Dalmatians is effective in about 40% of cases. DRY FOOD COMPLETE DIET PRO PLAN ® VETERINARY DIETS NF RENAL FUNCTION FOR ADULT DOGS can become such a diet. Sometimes the formation of urates is associated with an anatomical vascular anomaly (portosystemic shunt), in which case the treatment will require a complex surgical intervention. Without removing the shunt, it will be ineffective or temporary. If the cause of urate formation is a portosystemic shunt, no gender predisposition is noted.
Systems. Male English Bulldogs, Staffordshire Terriers, French Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Mestizos are predisposed. To combat this type of urolithiasis, urine alkalinization and a moderate protein and cystine diet, such as PRO PLAN ® VETERINARY DIETS NF RENAL FUNCTION FOR ADULTS, are essential.
Xanthines and silicates are rare types of uroliths, mainly in males. Xanthines are found in Dalmatians, Labrador Retrievers, and mestizos. And silicates in Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Shih Tzu and mestizos.
Signs of urolithiasis.

Bladder diseases in dogs

The symptoms of urolithiasis, regardless of the nature of the stones, are similar. This is difficult, painful, and frequent urination in small portions. Urine may be darker than usual, acquire a pungent odor, and sometimes there is blood in the urine. A calculus can cause an obstruction (blockage) of the urinary tract. This is a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention!

Prevention of urolithiasis in dogs.

For long and healthy life, a dog needs proper nutrition. If your pet is diagnosed with urolithiasis and the composition of the salts is known, the doctor prescribes a special diet that allows you to dissolve the stones or prevent their growth and the formation of new stones. If the dog is healthy, proper nutrition should meet the requirements for essential nutrients and contain the right amount of minerals that do not provoke stone formation. Drinking water must always be available!


Injuries to internal organs, including the bladder, are possible when a dog gets under a car, falls from a height, fights, and other serious incidents.

Bladder injury may be accompanied by symptoms similar to cystitis. The main symptoms will be pain and separation of urine mixed with blood. Because of the pain, the dog may hunch back, become lethargic, and refuse food.

Bladder rupture is a life-threatening condition. In this case, the urine contained in the bladder spills into the abdominal cavity. Within a short time, inflammation of the peritoneum develops – urinary peritonitis. If the dog is not operated on within the next few hours after the rupture, unfortunately, the injury will end in the animal’s death.

  • Can the bladder burst?

Despite the fact that the bladder is very elastic and easily stretched to accommodate a large amount of urine, there is still a maximum filling. A rupture of the bladder can happen if, for some reason, there is no possibility of an outflow of urine. For example, with obstruction of the urethra by a stone or compression by a tumor. Such an overstretched bubble can burst at the slightest pressure, including palpation (palpation).

2.3.Neoplasms (tumors) of the bladder in dogs

Neoplasms of the bladder in dogs can be benign or malignant, while the tumor can grow inside the bladder cavity, outside the bladder, and also be intramural. Benign neoplasms, usually extending into the cavity of the bladder – polyps. Malignant – squamous cell carcinoma (carcinoma), transitional cell, and other tumors.

The exact cause of neoplasia (tumor) is unknown. Exposure to insecticides/herbicides, aromatic amines, obesity, chronic inflammation of the bladder, congenital disabilities of the bladder, sex, and breed predisposition can lead to mutation and tumor formation.

  • Symptoms of bladder tumors in dogs.

Like other diseases of the bladder, polyps and tumors are accompanied by various urinary difficulties (dysuria). The dog may frequently urinate (pollakiuria) with blood (hematuria), and the tumor may block the lumen of the bladder and cause bladder obstruction.

  • Diagnosis and treatment of bladder tumors.

If you notice these symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinarian. The doctor will conduct the necessary studies and make a diagnosis. In some cases, removal of neoplasms is indicated. Sometimes chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. A fragment or a whole tumor is sent for histological examination to verify the diagnosis.

2.4.Neurogenic bladder

This is the name of the symptom complex of neurological disorders, leading to complete or partial atony of the bladder and the impossibility of normal independent urination.

The cause of the neurogenic bladder is a violation of innervation in case of damage to the spinal cord, usually due to trauma.

  • Symptoms

With atony of the bladder, urination may be involuntary. Urine, in this case, leaks constantly, and the dog does not take a pose for urination. Or urination does not occur at all, the bladder is complete, but the dog does not experience anxiety and the urge to defecate.

  • Diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose a neurogenic bladder, you need to contact a veterinary neurologist. Based on the history and after a neurological examination, the doctor will make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

A dog with an atonic bladder associated with neurological disorders sometimes requires regular manual emptying. The doctor or clinic assistant will teach the wearer how to handle this procedure.

Bladder diseases in dogs

2.5.Urinary incontinence in neutered bitches

Another condition, accompanied by involuntary leakage of urine, is caused not by neurological but by hormonal disorders. With a lack of estrogens, spayed bitches may develop urinary incontinence. Typically seen in large dogs, it may appear a few months after spaying.

The dog urinates involuntarily in a dream, lying on bedding. She does not get up and does not take a position for urination, not controlling the process. At the same time, urine is of standard color and smell; its daily amount is the same as that of a healthy animal.

  • Diagnosis and treatment

The veterinarian must rule out other bladder diseases to diagnose this disease by performing the necessary tests. The doctor will prescribe drugs that correct the hormonal background and normalize urination.

This article reviewed inflammatory and non-inflammatory diseases of the bladder in dogs. Even though the symptoms of these diseases are similar, their treatment is different – some of the conditions require surgical intervention, while others will be enough diet therapy. Therefore, it is essential not to delay the visit to the clinic and consult a doctor as soon as you notice such signs in your pet.


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