Recurrent Cystitis (Bladder Infections) in Cats

Recurrent Cystitis (Bladder Infections) in Cats

Recurrent cystitis is defined as repeated bouts of inflammation of the urinary bladder. Generally in small animal veterinary medicine, cystitis is usually synonymous with “bladder infection.”

Below is an overview of Recurrent Bladder Infections in Cats followed by in-depth information about the causes, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for this condition.

General Causes of Recurrent Bladder Infections

Clinical signs depend on the severity and possibly underlying cause of cystitis. Affected individuals may be asymptomatic (have no clinical signs), and infections may be picked up on routine testing.

Watch to Watch For

Diagnostic Tests for Recurrent Bladder Infections in Cats

Treatment for Recurrent Bladder Infections in Cats

Home Care

Administer all medication and diet as recommended by your veterinarian.
Contact your veterinarian at once if your pet is showing clinical signs consistent with cystitis.

Preventative Care

Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation regarding diet and medication administration, as these practices may help to prevent recurrence in the future.

In-depth Information on Recurrent Cystitis in Cats

Recurrent cystitis is defined as an inflammation of the urinary bladder, although it most often refers to relapses or reinfection caused by bacteria. There may be factors that enhance the susceptibility to recurrent infections such as congenital abnormalities (structural changes that have existed from birth), metabolic disorders or systemic immunosuppression (a decrease in efficiency of the body’s immune system); however, no underlying disorder need exist. It is also important to note that administering an incorrect antibiotic, or antibiotics at too low a dose or too short a course may not fully eradicate an infection, contributing to recurrent or persistent infections.

The clinical signs associated with recurrent cystitis may be mild, or even unnoticed, although some individuals may have severe, unrelenting signs of discomfort often associated with urinating. Depending on the specific case, certain diagnostics and therapeutics would be recommended and tailored to that individual.

Several diseases/disorders can present similarly to recurrent cystitis. These include:

In addition to the above disorders, severe clotting (bleeding) disorders can often show signs similar to recurrent cystitis, most often with hematuria. Any bleeding disorder needs to be differentiated from recurrent cystitis. Some of the more common clotting disorders include:

Diagnosis In-depth

Certain diagnostic tests must be performed to make a definitive diagnosis of recurrent cystitis and exclude other disease processes that may cause similar symptoms. A complete history, description of clinical signs, and thorough physical examination are all an important part of obtaining a diagnosis, and potential underlying cause. In addition, the following tests are recommended:

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to exclude or diagnose concurrent conditions. These tests are not always necessary in every case, but they may be of benefit in certain individuals, and are selected on a case-by-case basis. These include;

Therapy In-depth

Most patients are stable, and can be treated as outpatients as long as they are monitored closely for response to therapy. With appropriate therapy, and/or the identification and treatment of an underlying disorder, most patients do well, and can expect to see a full recovery. Correction or treatment of any underlying predisposing factors such as stones, prostatitis/metritis or cancer is imperative to treatment.

In more chronic cases, response to therapy can take longer and occasionally, response may be poor. Chronic, recurring cystitis can cause the development of stones, or cause the extension of infection to other parts of the urinary tract and body. It is very important that all recommendations by your veterinarian are followed very closely, and any questions or concerns that arise during the treatment protocol are addressed immediately.

Antibiotic therapy selected on the basis of bacterial culture and sensitivity of the urine or bladder mucosa (tissue) is the most important part if therapy. It is important to administer all medication as directed by your veterinarian. Usually, a minimum of 4-6 week treatment protocol is indicated in these recurring cases. Occasionally, extended or repeat antibiotic courses are in order. In some cases, long term (months) before bedtime administration is recommended.

Dietary modification is recommended in animals with concurrent kidney failure or stones. Surgical intervention may be necessary in cases of stones or tumors.

Follow-Up Care for Cats with Recurrent Cystitis

Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve.