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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Worried about the cost of Cystotomy treatment?
Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.
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
- Persistent hematuria
- Excessive stranguria
- Impaired urinary output
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).
Cystotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
2 found helpful
2 found helpful
My dog was diagnosed with bladder stones last week (Thursday), her symptoms were vomiting, no energy, not eating or drinking, not pooping, and lastly her new symptoms were blood in her urine. The vet did some X-rays on Thursday and it clearly showed some stones in her bladder and they said that surgery was the treatment option for her. They gave her fluids (because she was dehydrated), an anti nausea and vomiting shot, and an antibiotic shot, and sent her home. By Friday she was better, she was eating again, going to the bathroom normally, and was acting a little more energetic. By Saturday she starting vomiting again and not eating or drinking, and I could see her energy was low again. I decided that I was going to call first thing in the morning and schedule her surgery. Sunday came, and I checked her diaper (she has to wear diapers because she had an FCE 6 months ago) and I saw a stone. She kept passing stones all throughout Sunday and Monday. I called the vets on Monday morning and scheduled her cystotomy for Tuesday morning. I collected a total of 4 stones and took them to the vet on Tuesday morning. The vet tech who attended me was unbelief that they were stones and said that they “look like cereal” and and just ignored it. My dog got the surgery, and guess what? They said that they didn’t find any stones!!!! So they just cleaned her up and closer her. I’m currently very upset with the vet, and I’m clueless on what to do.
June 6, 2018
Thankfully there were no stones in the bladder and it seems that she may have passed them, however without seeing the stones which you took to the Veterinarian I cannot say if they were stones or not; however I probably would have done another x-ray to see if there were any stones in the urethra or bladder before surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
June 7, 2018
Was this experience helpful?
0 found helpful
0 found helpful
My 14 year old large mixed breed has been having UTIs for the last year and a half. In December 2016, she had x-rays, and an ultrasound that revealed no masses or stones. She went from late August 2017 to late January 2018 without an infection. She was on antibiotics for 10 weeks (4 weeks after the UA was all clear.) A week later, a different infection emerged. My vet thinks she needs to go for a cystotomy. Is there anyway they can do this without knocking her out? She faints occasionally due to a heart condition. There are no crystals or blood in the uas.
May 17, 2018
A cystotomy is a procedure where the abdominal cavity is opened surgically and the urinary bladder is cut open to view the inside; this is not a procedure to do in a conscious animal regardless of heart conditions etc… However, I’m not sure of the rationale behind a cystotomy if no masses or stones have been detected on ultrasound or x-ray. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
May 18, 2018
Was this experience helpful?