Rupture of the Bladder in Dogs

Overview of Rupture of the Urinary Bladder

Bladder rupture is a condition in which the urinary bladder tears and releases urine into the abdominal cavity. The bladder can rupture because of trauma, urinary obstruction, tumors, severe bladder disease, and during catheterization.

There are no specific dog breed or sex predilections for this problem. Animals that experience rupture of the bladder can quickly become sick from substances in the urine that leak into the abdomen and get reabsorbed instead of being excreted.

What to Watch For

Signs of rupture of the bladder in dogs may include:

Rupture of the bladder rarely occurs without the animal first showing other symptoms of urinary tract disease such as straining to urinate, bloody urine, and inability to urinate.

Diagnosis of Urinary Bladder Rupture in Dogs

Diagnostic tests may include:

Treatment of Urinary Bladder Rupture in Dogs

Abdominal exploratory surgery with repair of the bladder wall defect is the definitive course of treatment.

Sick animals are given intravenous fluids to help stabilize them prior to surgery. Animals that are too unstable to have surgery may require abdominal drainage until surgery can be done.

Home Care and Prevention

After surgery and discharge from the hospital, your pet should be restricted from excessive activity. He may be given anti-inflammatory medications or pain medications for the first few days to keep him comfortable.

Some dogs may be sent home with oral antibiotics for several days if a urinary tract infection is also present or suspected.

Once home, you need to watch your dog carefully for signs of surgical complications, including:

Ruptured bladder associated with bladder stones can be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment of the stones. Bladder rupture associated with trauma can sometimes be prevented. Many traumatic events are true accidents and thus unavoidable. Avoid the chance for motor vehicle trauma by keeping your dog fenced or leashed. Other causes of ruptured bladder cannot be prevented.

In-depth Information on Urinary Bladder Rupture in Dogs

Rupture of the urinary bladder is a serious consequence of major trauma or underlying urinary tract disease and is the most common cause of uro-abdomen, which is the presence of urine within the abdominal cavity, in small animals.

Causes of Urinary Bladder Rupture in Dogs

Once the bladder ruptures, urine begins leaking into the abdomen (uro-abdomen). The urine is the body’s vehicle for getting rid of certain waste products. Normally, the urine is voided from the body through the urethra. When the bladder has ruptured, the animal is not able to completely rid himself of these waste products and they accumulate in the abdomen.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis

In-depth Information on Treatment

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Urinary Bladder Rupture

After discharge from the hospital, the animal must be kept quiet in order to heal properly. Activity must be restricted for a couple of weeks after surgery. Restricted activity means that the animal should be kept confined to a carrier, crate, or small room whenever he cannot be supervised. The dog cannot play or rough-house, even if he appears to be feeling well, and should be confined to a leash when taken outdoors.

Oral antibiotics may be given at home for several days if a urinary tract infection is present or suspected until culture results are complete. Medication should be given as directed by your veterinarian. Analgesics for pain such as butorphanol (Torbugesic®) can cause sedation. Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or carprofen (Rimadyl®) can cause upset stomach. Your veterinarian should be informed if any adverse side effects do occur.

The skin incision needs to be monitored daily for signs of excessive swelling or discharge. These can indicate problems with the incision or possible infection. Contact your veterinarian if these occur.

It is common to have some blood in the urine after a repair of a ruptured bladder. This bleeding should resolve within a few days. If it persists or becomes profuse, inform your veterinarian. Straining to urinate is also common after surgery on the bladder, especially if stones were removed from the urethra or bladder. This straining usually decreases over the first few days after surgery. It is important to make sure that the animal is actually getting urine out while he is straining. If no urine is coming out, contact your veterinarian immediately.

In some cases, because of the trauma or the underlying disease of the bladder wall, the bladder may not heal well after repair and can begin leaking urine into the abdomen. The animal may begin feeling poorly again and the abdomen may distend with fluid. If your dog is not improving steadily after surgery or begins to feel badly again, your veterinarian must be informed. If it is confirmed that the bladder is still leaking, another surgery will be required to fix it.