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What is Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract?

Many cases of cystitis can be easily corrected by current treatment methods. In cases where blockages are involved, more invasive methods, such as surgery, may need to be performed. In rare cases, such infections can be a signal of a more serious condition, such as cancer, bladder or renal disease.

Cystitis, or an infection of the bladder and urinary tract, is a very common occurrence in rabbits. Inflammation of the bladder and the urinary tract is usually caused by bacteria, and can lead to mild to severe discomfort for your rabbit.

Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract Average Cost

From 452 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract in Rabbits

Symptoms of a bladder or urinary tract infection include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Decreased urination
  • Painful urination
  • Straining to urinate, or a hunched posture while urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Brown or beige colored urine
  • Thick or cloudy urine
  • Cries or grunts when urinating, being handled or moving
  • Changes in litter box behavior
  • Urine staining
  • Urine scald, or red irritated skin where there is prolonged urine contact
  • Bladder sludge or stones
  • Loss of fur near genitals or hindquarters
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Pain
  • Wet tail

Symptoms of renal disease can include:

  • Dehydration
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urine odor coming from mouth
  • Increased water consumption
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Causes of Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract in Rabbits

The cause of a UTI or bladder infection in your rabbit could be:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Bladder sludge or stones
  • Too much calcium
  • Urinary tract blockage
  • Urinary tract inflammation
  • Abnormal urinary tract that can predispose a rabbit to infections
  • Trauma
  • Endocrine problem, causing increased formation of stones
  • Cancer
  • Renal disease or failure
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Diagnosis of Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract in Rabbits

After a regular exam, if a UTI or bladder infection is suspected, a urinalysis is often performed. This may be accompanied by a microscopic examination, and a cystocentesis, wherein a needle is inserted into the bladder to extract a sterile sample for testing. Testing of this sample can confirm what kind of bacteria is infecting your rabbit, and lead your veterinarian to the appropriate antibiotics to prescribe.

There are cases in which the bacteria is fastidious anaerobic, or bacteria that dies when exposed to oxygen, causing the test to be negative. Your veterinarian may be able to further diagnose the condition by examining your rabbit’s urine under a microscope to look for any blood cells present.

In cases where stones, blockages or other more severe issues are suspected, X-rays, urine cultures, and blood tests will be performed. Stones should be able to be detected on X-rays. Bladder disease can be confirmed with a urine culture, blood work, and a complete blood count.If the case is indeed severe, often veterinarians will check to see if the kidneys are affected, and to what extent.

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Treatment of Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract in Rabbits

Treatment for the infection will correspond to the underlying cause. For a bacterial cause, antibiotics will be prescribed, with any supportive therapy needed, such as fluid therapy. If a blockage is to blame, treatment can include the surgical removal of stones. Antibiotics are prescribed, and fluids are given if needed. Stones need to be removed, or they will continue to grow in size, inflaming the bladder and urinary tract. Your veterinarian will discuss a proper diet to discourage the stones from reoccurring. 

Sludge may require fluid therapy and antibiotics, and your rabbit may need his bladder manually expressed to remove the sludge. Pain medication may be prescribed for pain and to control spasms. Liquid magnesium has been used to treat chronic sludge. In the case of kidney disease, treatment involves treating the underlying cause, be that bacterial or protozoan infection, stones and sludge, or tumors. Your veterinarian will discuss a treatment plan on a case by case basis once the full extent of the condition is known. In most cases, pain medication is often prescribed. Death is rare, but can occur in cases of bladder rupture, renal disease, or an inability to urinate.

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Recovery of Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract in Rabbits

If surgery was performed to remove stones or obstructions, your rabbit may need 1-2 days of hospitalization for pain management and fluid therapy as needed after surgery.

Continued antibiotic treatment at home is generally prescribed, up to several weeks for severe cases of infection. Diet changes may also be recommended. A repeated urine culture may also be recommended to ensure the infection is eradicated, or future veterinary visits to check for stones may be scheduled.

If UTIs are common for your rabbit, prevent reocurrences by having fresh, clean water readily available, feeding your rabbit a diet high in moisture, regularly cleaning your rabbit’s elimination area, and exercising your rabbit regularly to promote healthy urination.

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Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract Average Cost

From 452 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Holland lop

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Painful Urination

She has blood in her lee and it’s like a white/yellow

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Lopsi

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Holland Lop

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bladder In

My holland lop has a bladder infection for 2 months and she is not responsive to the antibiotics the lab tests suggested even after 2 weeks of 3 ml shots. She is therefore underweight now. She is 2 years old. Any advice? The bacteria is enterococcus faecalis, present in their system apparently.

Sept. 14, 2018

Lopsi's Owner

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Tiger

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Dwarf lop eared

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Urinating Outside Litterbox
Eating Aggressively
Warm Ear

My rabbit is about 4 and was immediately litter trained by himself - never an accident. He's a free roaming house-rabbit. Over the past 10 dyas he's peeing half the time just next to his box ... and he's has a few loose stools in the past month or two. His ears seemed very warm to me and he eats voraciously (almost aggressively pulling on his dried greens ... we give him lettuce, fennel or carrot green tops, celery, and every few days carrot skins or an apple core ... he does pee in his box but accidents are getting more frequent, it seems! Help!

June 19, 2018

Tiger's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Tiger may have an infection or other problem with his urinary tract, or he may be marking, if he isn't neutered. Since I can't examine him, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at him, determine what might be going on, and get any treatment for him that he may need.

June 19, 2018

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Milo

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French Lop

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Smell

My rabbit has started to urinate a lot more than usual as in leaving puddles in his litter tray within less than a day. I’m having to clean him everyday as the smell is so strong, he is only 6 month old and has just started. What could it be?

June 17, 2018

Milo's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Urine odour may be due to infections, hormonal changes among other issues; it is important to ensure that Milo is hydrated, has a balanced diet of veggies, pellets and hay. It would be good to have your Veterinarian examine him to be on the safe side to catch anything before it gets any more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 18, 2018

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rosie

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Holland Lop

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5 Weeks

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Infections, Tired All The Time ,

what can we do if my bunny has a bladder infection could she die?her ears are very cold and i don't know what to do on friday the 15th 2018 I was brushing her and i tore it open im scared.

June 16, 2018

rosie's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Any suspected urinary tract infection should be seen by your Veterinarian immediately for treatment and pain relief; from your description I’m not sure what tore open but you should again visit your Veterinarian for that immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 17, 2018

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Twinkie

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Mix

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Peeing Outside Litter Box

I recently moved houses about two weeks ago. I got my rabbit from a rescue and she was litter box trained. When I brought her home she took forever to use the litter box in her new cage. Now with this recent move, she’s using her actual beds as a litter box. While using her litter box as her bed. She is barely pooping in the litter box and is peeing everywhere else. She’s eating normally, still drinking water and getting exercise. Is this peeing outside of her litter box related to the new move?

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Moxie

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Netherland Dwarf

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

No Fur, Shakes (Shivers?)

My rabbit is almost 3 years old now. We saw a possible problem the other day and checked her out. Apparently she has a urinary infection. We have been treating her and cleaning her and her cage non-stop. We also moved her to a separate cage than our other rabbit. But she hasn't gotten better. Although she is eating, drinking, and letting it all out, she just keeps getting worse. I checked on her today and she now was a huge pink lump on her underside, that is filled with like tiny yellow balls? I'm very confused what is happening with her at the moment. Does anybody know about this?

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Peanut

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Rex

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Straining To Urinate

Hello; My 5 years old female bunny has been on alfalfa hay her whole life. Sometimes her urine looks like very thick and white but this happens 1 in 20-30 times urination and it turns to clear again. She has been straining on urination 1 week ago and was a little lethargic with loss of appetite. We gave her 3 times injection of baytril and she got better and dosen't strain anymore. Her appetite is good now but she is not so much active like before. I discontinued her alfalfa 1 week ago but again she had a thick urine today. Could you please guide me if she really needs a sonography or any imaging to know more about her urinary system (for a stone or sludge in it). For a veterinary visit I have to move 150 miles(about 6 hours) and it would be stressful and difficult for her as she dosen't eat and drink during traveling. I would be thankful for any help

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Caramel

dog-breed-icon

Rex

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Not Himself
Not Wanting To Eat/Drink
Not Wanting To Move Much
Losing Cecotropes/Not Eating Them
Looks Uncomfortable/In Pain

My rabbit, Caramel, who is 10 years old, started having issues last night and we took him to a vet that takes exotic animals around 1 am. He had been boarding at another vet a few days ago when we were on a trip. When we were at the emergency vet at 1 AM they took his temperature and said it was a little bit low and I did notice that when we arrived he was shaking and breathing very fast. He's had urinary tract issues and sludge before and it was always resolved by giving him an injection of saline solution. When we talked to the vet she said that she did feel any hardness of his abdomen. She said it was for the most part normal, just a little soft. She recommended taking x-rays and having him stay overnight but because we've had these issues with him before and they always were treated with saline, we asked them to bring up his temperature and give an injection of saline solution. Around 3 AM, they said his temperature was back to normal with blankets and heating pads they had used and he was given the saline. We took him back home and he seemed much calmer and not shaking anymore. He was moving a lot, wanted to eat and drink, and looked back to normal. When we woke up this morning we gave him apples, carrots, applesauce, hay, and water. He ate the carrots, hay, and apples but didn't want to drink any water. We even gave him watermelon so that he could have some hydration in him even though he didn't want to drink the water. Now he's peed three times outside of his litter box (which he's never done before) but the urine is clear. He doesn't want to eat or drink anything and lost a cecotrope and didn't want to eat it. Now we think he has a urinary tract infection and plan to take him to a vet to hopefully get him some antibiotics.

Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract Average Cost

From 452 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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