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What is Cystotomy?

A cystotomy in dogs is surgical procedure that involves creating an opening in the wall of the urinary bladder. This type of procedure is used to treat a number of canine conditions, but is also performed to diagnose a problem that other diagnostic tests did not reveal. A veterinarian may perform a cystotomy in a dog to collect a biopsy, conduct an exploratory, or to treat an identified problem such as a tumor, bladder stones and urethral obstructions. The total operation usually last approximately 45 minutes to an hour and the patient will be hospitalized for two to three days postoperatively. 

Cystotomy Procedure in Dogs

Prior to conducting the cystotomy procedure, a general health assessment will be completed on the dog. Blood work, radiographs and an ultrasound are usually the primary pre-operative exams done on a dog with a condition of the bladder. 

  1. The patient will be placed in dorsal recumbency on the sterile surgical table and draped. The veterinary surgeon will be focusing on the ventral aspect of the bladder to better expose the trigone area. 
  2. An incision will be created, allowing the urinary bladder to be exteriorized for easy access to the vet. Stay sutures will be placed to hold the bladder outside the dog’s body. To prevent the moist organ and surrounding tissues from drying out, laparotomy sponges will be moistened to be placed around the bladder. The bladder will then be aspirated to remove urine. 
  3. The surgeon will then pierce the canine bladder lumen on the ventral midline, using a suction device to remove any remaining waste fluids in the organ. The incision will then be continued across the midline using Metzenbaum scissors. 
  4. Once the surgical opening has been created, a scrubbed-in nurse will keep the bladder lumen open to allow the surgeon to remove the abnormality (polyps, tumors, urethral calculi, uroliths). If a biopsy or exploratory is in the treatment plan for this dog, the surgeon will also perform these test at this time. 
  5. The bladder is then sutured using a continuous stitch pattern through the serosa, muscularis, and submucosa. Once the vet surgeon is content with his/her stitching and positive the bladder will not leak, the abdomen wall will also be closed. 
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Efficacy of Cystotomy in Dogs

Cystotomy in dogs is a highly effective surgery for diagnosis, correcting and treating abnormalities within the urinary bladder. Like all surgical procedures, complications should be considered with this operation and discussed with a working veterinarian. 

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Cystotomy Recovery in Dogs

Following a cystotomy procedure, the dog will be hospitalized for a period of time for monitoring purposes and to continue the administration of fluids. The passing of blood clots through the urine is a common occurrence for canines who have undergone a cystotomy and the patient will not be allowed home until the clots have minimized. Pain will be controlled through the use of opioids directly following surgery, but at home, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should continue for 3-5 days. The patient should receive a higher than normal water intake at home to keep the dog hydrated and to routinely flush the bladder. 

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Cost of Cystotomy in Dogs

The estimated cost for a cystotomy in dogs is around $1,700. The total cost of the procedure includes the cost of medications, imaging and analysis of biopsied matter. 

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Dog Cystotomy Considerations

Complications following a cystotomy in dogs is rare, but the patient should be monitored for the following post-operative problems: 

  • Dehiscence or suture line leakage 
  • Infection 
  • Persistent hematuria 
  • Excessive stranguria 
  • Obstructions 
  • Impaired urinary output 
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Cystotomy Prevention in Dogs

Cystotomy in dogs is used to treat and diagnose a number of complications seen in canines. Some canine breeds are highly prone to developing bladder conditions, especially Dalmatian dogs with bladder stones. All Dalmatians are born without the ability to convert uric acid to allantoin acid, or urine. The high concentration of the acid within the bladder imbalances the pH levels between acid and basic, leading to calcified formations called urolithiasis (bladder stones). 

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Cystotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Jeremy

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Dachshund

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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3 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bladder Stones

Hello my dog (approx 8yo) male dachshund mix just got a cystotomy for bladder stones. He’s always had alkaline urine and struvite crystals (with no infection), and now “many” stones were discovered on ultrasound. I just visited my dog 24 hours post op at the hospital and he was completely incontinent leaking urine constantly. Is this normal and how long should I expect this to last when I take him home? The vet on his case today was extremely rude and wouldn’t answer any questions.

Aug. 24, 2018

Jeremy's Owner

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3 Recommendations

Urinary incontinence may occur after cystotomy and may be temporary or in some cases may be permanent; however give it time and monitor for improvement. Speak with the Veterinarian (if you can) next time and see what they say about the surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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Bella

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Yorkie

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination

My dog is having a cystotomy on Thursday. She is a one year old yorkie. She will be staying the night at the vet. I'm worried because there will no one there to monitor overnight Should I be concerned over this?

Aug. 1, 2018

Bella's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Some clinics have a 24 hour presence on site whilst others don’t, the surgery in a one year old Yorkie shouldn’t have any complications as it is normally straightforward. If you have concerns, you should raise them with your Veterinarian prior to surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 1, 2018

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Molly

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Westiepoo

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Straining To Urinate
Urine Spotting

Hello, My 12 year old westie poodle mix had an extensive 4 hour bladder surgery to remove 10 calcium oxalate stones from her bladder and urethra about 3 and a half weeks ago. She is eating fine and getting her energy back, but she is still constantly peeing and straining to pee when outside (squatting to pee every few steps). Inside, she is leaking pee and the odour is quite potent - I have diapers on her now. She’s been on antibiotics for 10 days as there was suspicion that she had a UTI and is continuing to take anti-inflammatories. I trust my vet, I’m just hoping for a second opinion. Is it likely that she is still inflamed and healing which is why she is still having issues? Or could there be new stones forming? Or some other issue? Could this be the new normal for her? She’s never had an issue with stones in the past so seems like she’s just having a longer time healing. That’s what I’m hoping!

June 16, 2018

Molly's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It is difficult to say whether the urinary issues are caused by infection, formation of new stones, inflammation or another cause; a urinalysis would show if there was another infection or not as well as if there were any crystals in the urine. If there is no improvement on the current course of treatment you should think about having urinalysis done and possibly an x-ray or ultrasound to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 17, 2018

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Blackie

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chihuahua mix

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Urine
Bloody Urine, Bladder Stone

Hi Doctor! My 10 lb, 5 y/o chihuahua mix is scheduled for a cystotomy next week. I would like to get his teeth clean and neuter him while his already under anesthesia, but it worries me that it might be too much at once, or do you think I should go for it? Overall, he's healthy. Two years ago he was positive for heartworms, but was successfully treated.

June 14, 2018

Blackie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

The decision to do all the procedures at once has its pros and cons, I would be in favour in getting all procedures done in one anaesthetic cycle instead in two or three separate procedures; however your Veterinarian is the one who would decide if this is a suitable choice for Blackie or not based on the pre anaesthetic examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 15, 2018

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Blade

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Bichon Frise

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lack Of Appetite

My 9 year old Bichon just under went a cystotomy on Tuesday. He was on IV fluids at the vet until Wednesday when we picked him up. It is Friday evening and he still does not have an appetite. He is drinking plenty and going pee on his own-dripping more today than prior-any tips on getting food into him? He licks the food a little then sticks his nose up at it. He is on oral medication: Rimadyl for pain and enrofloxacin antibiotic and one in the refrigerator is gabapentin oral liquid.

June 9, 2018

Blade's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

It isn't uncommon for dogs to take a little while to start to eat again after surgery, but 4 days is quite a while, I agree. It might help in the short term to feed him some boiled chicken and rice, as that is a bland mixture but dogs tend to enjoy it very much. That may help get his appetite back so that he is eating again.

June 9, 2018

Thank you for the response. Unfortunately, he passed away. The vet is doing necropsy to see what went wrong. We have lots of unanswered questions...

June 12, 2018

Blade's Owner

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Cee Cee

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Maltese

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13 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hind Legs Weak

My 13 year old Maltese is scheduled for a cystotomy in 2 days..X ray showed one stone in bladder. No blood in urine and she doesn't seem to be in pain. She has a heart murmur and a collapsed trachea. Very concerned about going through with this surgery.Is it necessary at this time or can we try another less evasive way to go.Thanks

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Hachi

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Shih Tzu

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

My dog undergo a cystotomy about 1 1/2 months ago. Everything went normal except that lately we noticed small blood clots in her urine. Is this normal even months after surgery? However, her appetite is still normal and doesn’t show any other symptoms like lethargy.

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Atticus

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Dachshund

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Blood In Urine, Frequent Urination

Our 3.5 yrs old mini male Dachshund had bladder stones removed Thursday. It’s been 4 days, and I still see substantial amounts of blood in his urine. He also tries to urinate frequently as if he has a UTI which end up just drops of blood after four pushes. How long is a reasonable time to wait before taking him to emergency? Is there anything the vet can do to check that internally things are fine?

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Tank

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Dogo Argentino

dog-age-icon

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

Urine Spotting

My dog had bladder stones removed from his bladder and urethra. He urinated normally the first few days, but it’s now been about a week and he is only dripping pee and and if he does have a stream, it’s a very thin stream. What could it be?

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Alfie

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schnauzer

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine

I noticed blood in Alfie's urine once before and he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. We got some antibiotics and then he was back to normal. One year later we noticed it again and the vet recommended an X-Ray. I rescued Alfie September 2017 so I didn't know his medical background or even his age. He just had surgery on 02/04/2019 and he is slowly recovering. Today I am still noticing blood clots and blood in his urine. He has his check up on 02/14/2019 and then returning the following week to remove his sutures.

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