Cystostomy Tube Placement in Dogs

Cystostomy Tube Placement in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What is Cystostomy Tube Placement?

If a dog's urinary tract becomes obstructed, surgical intervention is often required. To eliminate liquid waste before any damage occurs to the organs, a cystostomy tube can be placed from the bladder out through the abdomen. This tube allows urine to leave the body effectively without using the urinary tract. 

A cystostomy tube must be placed surgically. The procedure is not overly complicated and is performed by most veterinary surgeons. No specialized equipment is needed to insert the tube. Cystostomy tubes allow the body to function normally until a more permanent solution can be made. 

Cystostomy Tube Placement Procedure in Dogs

If a urinary tract obstruction is suspected, x-rays or ultrasound imaging will be needed to locate the affected area. Once a blockage has been confirmed, the surgery can be planned. There are multiple tube choices but Foley catheters have the highest success rates. Blood work may be run if the situation allows it. Urinary blockages are often emergencies, and as such immediate action must be taken to safe the dog's life. 

The dog will need to fast for several hours before the surgery commences. A sedative will be given to the dog, and then an IV will be inserted. General anesthesia will be administered at this point. To prevent infection and ease the process, the abdomen will be shaved and cleaned. The area of entry will be marked on the skin, and then an incision can be made. Once the abdominal cavity has been opened, the bladder may be incised. The tube will be placed in the bladder and secured using sutures. Saline will be pumped through to identify any leaks. If no leaks exist, the bladder and then the abdomen can be sutured shut.

Efficacy of Cystostomy Tube Placement in Dogs

Cystostomy tubes are temporary to semi-permanent solutions for addressing bladder obstructions. In some instances, they are only used for a period of days, but they can be left in for several months if needed. Most cases where a cystostomy tube has been used will involve further surgery on the dog to permanent repair or redirect urinary tract damage. 

In dogs who can not undergo further surgery, a cystostomy tube can be used as part of a palliative care treatment plan. Because underlying causes of urinary tract obstruction are often very serious, many dogs do not survive more than 10 days with a cystostomy tube. If the primary health issue is treatable, full recovery is possible.

Cystostomy Tube Placement Recovery in Dogs

The dog will need to be closely monitored as it wakes up from the operation. The port where the tube exits the body will need to be kept clean until scar tissue has formed around it. Bandages, antibiotic ointment, and petroleum jelly may be used on the surgical wound. The dog's activity will have to be kept low for the whole time that it has the cystostomy tube. 

Some dogs require an Elizabethan collar while the tube is in place to prevent them from biting or pulling their tube. The bladder will have to be expressed up to four times a day by the owner. Any signs of infection including pain, fever, or swelling should be reported to the veterinarian immediately. More surgery may be needed to address the underlying health problem.

Cost of Cystostomy Tube Placement in Dogs

Placement of a cystostomy tube can cost anywhere from $400 to $4,500. Emergency surgery can add up quickly and may be paired with other procedures. Diagnostic imaging and blood work both can increase the overall cost. In addition to this, prescriptions for pain medications and antibiotics will be required after surgery. As a cystostomy tube is not a permanent treatment, further surgery is generally needed. This can increase the total price by double or more. 

Petted logo

Worried about the cost of treating your pet's symptoms?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Get a quote


Dog Cystostomy Tube Placement Considerations

Complications with general anesthesia are possible, especially for dogs experiencing shock or other health issues. If the tube is not secured well enough, urine may leak out from the bladder into the abdomen. This can lead to severe internal infection. Infection may develop up the urinary tract but this is often treatable. The owner must consider if it is realistic to maintain the dog after a cystostomy tube has been placed, as the bladder will have to be manually expressed multiple times a day.

Cystostomy Tube Placement Prevention in Dogs

Preventing the need for a cystostomy tube means preventing a urinary tract obstruction from developing in the first place. Blunt force trauma may be prevented by the use of a leash when taking your dog on walks. Ensure that your yard does not have openings that your dog can escape from. Urinary tract stones can often be prevented by selecting an appropriate diet for your dog. High quality foods that are low on carbohydrates are good choices to stop stones from forming in the body.

It may be hard to prevent cancer from developing in your dog, as it can be genetic. Always inquire about your dog's family health history when obtaining the animal. Keep your dog away from known cancer-causing agents such as cigarette smoke or car exhaust. Inflammation can also be difficult to prevent, but certain triggers in your dog's food may be the culprit. Select a species appropriate diet for your dog, and take it in for examination at the signs of any digestive distress.

Cystostomy Tube Placement Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Bernese Mountain Dog




19 Months


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Lack Of Bowel Control
Is a cystostomy tube an option for a dog that has had an FCE (fibrocartilangenous emboli)? On March 5, 2018 my dog had an FCE and immediately was paralyzed from mid body back. My local vet does not have MRI available, so we went to Neuro Vet specialist, 4hrs aways for MRI to confirm the diagnosis. My Diesel was just 16 months old and the time and felt he deserved an opportunity to have a good life and hoped for some collateral circulation to the affected areas. We are now 3+ months into the process and still no bladder or bowel control. It took 3+ wks for return usage of the hind legs and they are not 100%; the left leg has significant limp but he is able to go for walks. He does now have some movement in his tail and this is great as it was previously limp. We have picked up on the distinct lift of his tail to signal his bowels need to move. I have been reading on the cystostomy tube and wanted to know if this was an option for controlled bladder emptying for my Diesel. We use belly bands (have tried many different versions) while he is inside but we still have frequent accidents. We do take him out frequently. Its becoming more stressful and difficult to live in my house with my sweet Diesel with no bladder control. The listed medications were used for little over 1 month and no change was observed so we discontinued use.

June 25, 2018

0 Recommendations

A cystostomy tube is a temporary solution for an obstruction of the urethra, not for lifelong management of urinary incontinence; I understand that this is frustrating for you, however I wouldn’t recommend this for Diesel’s condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 26, 2018

Was this question and answer helpful?
Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.