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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 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.

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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.

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

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rosie

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Holland Lop

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5 Weeks

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

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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Biggles

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Lionhead

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7 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

Not Urinating

My pet dwarf lion head hasn’t been urinating, it’s been about a two days. He’s eating and pooping as normal for the most part however he isn’t as interested in the food do to having to change it. He’s also aggressive so it’s hard to pick him up and see if there’s anything noticeable and no vet is available in my area, money is also tight so it’s going to be hard to get him somewhere. Is there anything I can do at home to help him?

April 24, 2018

Biggles' Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Without examining Biggles I cannot say what the specific cause is and I cannot prescribe any prescription medications. Normal causes for a rabbit not urinating are infections, excess calcium, sludge among other issues; you should try to find a Veterinarian, charity clinic or other organisation which can help. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 25, 2018

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Infection in the Bladder or Urinary Tract Average Cost

From 452 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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