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  • Writer's pictureVetMed Team

Bladder Polyps in Dogs: Polypoid Cystitis

When it comes to the health and well-being of our pets, we leave no stone unturned. Yet, sometimes health concerns arise that can be puzzling and alarming. One such issue that dog owners may encounter is bladder polyps, also known medically as polypoid cystitis. Though relatively uncommon, these growths can lead to a host of urinary symptoms that can cause discomfort and distress for your pet. VetMed specializes in minimally invasive procedures for treating conditions like bladder polyps, offering a glimmer of hope for those looking for less invasive yet effective treatments.

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What Are Bladder Polyps (Polypoid Cystitis) in Dogs?

Bladder polyps, also known as polypoid cystitis, refer to non-cancerous growths that develop on the lining of a dog's bladder. These formations are often benign but can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms, affecting your dog's urination and overall well-being. Unlike bladder stones or tumors, bladder polyps are less commonly discussed but can present significant challenges when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes Bladder Polyps?

The exact cause of bladder polyps in dogs is not fully understood, and several factors could contribute to their development. Some theories suggest that chronic inflammation of the bladder may lead to the formation of polyps. Others believe that hormonal imbalances or genetic predispositions could play a role. In some cases, bladder polyps are secondary conditions resulting from prolonged urinary tract infections or bladder stones.

What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Polyps in Dogs?

The presence of bladder polyps can manifest in various symptoms, depending on the size and location of the polyps. Common indicators include:

  • Frequent urination or attempts to urinate

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)

  • Pain or discomfort during urination

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Lethargy or decreased activity levels

These symptoms can easily be mistaken for other urinary tract issues, making accurate diagnosis vital for appropriate treatment.

Types of Bladder Inflammation with Bladder Polyps

Bladder inflammation often accompanies bladder polyps, and this inflammation can vary in type and severity. The types of bladder inflammation that often coexist with bladder polyps include:

Acute Cystitis: This is a sudden onset of bladder inflammation often caused by infections, and it might trigger or exacerbate the growth of bladder polyps.

Chronic Cystitis: Long-term, recurring inflammation can not only cause discomfort but may also lead to the development or worsening of bladder polyps over time.

Interstitial Cystitis: This is a more severe and painful type of inflammation that affects the multiple layers of the bladder wall and is commonly associated with the presence of polyps.

Understanding the type of bladder inflammation that accompanies the polyps can help in formulating a more effective treatment strategy.

Can You Prevent Bladder Polyps in Dogs?

Preventing bladder polyps can be challenging due to the unclear understanding of their exact cause. However, some general practices may help in reducing the risk:

  • Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Early detection can be key in managing bladder issues effectively.

  • Maintaining a Healthy Diet: A balanced diet that supports urinary health can be beneficial.

  • Adequate Hydration: Ensuring your dog drinks enough water can help flush the urinary system, possibly reducing the risk of polyps.

While these steps are not foolproof methods for preventing bladder polyps, they can contribute to better overall urinary health for your dog.

How Bladder Polyps Are Diagnosed in Dogs

Diagnosing bladder polyps can be a multi-step process involving several diagnostic tools and tests. The symptoms of bladder polyps often overlap with other urinary conditions, making a thorough diagnostic regimen crucial for accurate identification and subsequent treatment.

Initial Consultation and Clinical Signs

The diagnostic process usually starts with a detailed clinical examination and history-taking. The veterinarian will look for specific signs such as discomfort during urination, bloody urine, or frequent attempts to urinate. These symptoms will often prompt the veterinarian to recommend more specialized tests.

Urine Analysis

Urinalysis: One of the first steps in diagnosing bladder issues is urinalysis. This involves testing a urine sample for elements such as red and white blood cells, bacteria, and crystals. A urinalysis can rule out infections and other common urinary problems that could mimic the symptoms of bladder polyps.

Urine Culture: In some instances, a urine culture may be performed to identify specific types of bacteria, especially if an infection is suspected alongside the presence of polyps.

Imaging Tests

Ultrasound: An ultrasound allows veterinarians to visualize the interior of the bladder and identify any abnormal growths. While ultrasounds are non-invasive, they may not provide the most detailed images for smaller polyps.

X-rays: Though less commonly used for soft tissue structures like polyps, X-rays may be useful if bladder stones are suspected as well.


Cystoscopy involves inserting a thin tube equipped with a camera into the bladder through the urethra. This method gives the most direct view of the bladder's internal surface, and it's particularly useful for identifying smaller polyps that might not show up on an ultrasound.

Biopsy and Histological Examination

Once the presence of a polyp is confirmed, a biopsy may be taken for further analysis. This involves removing a small sample of the polyp for microscopic examination to confirm whether it is benign or has malignant potential.

Blood Tests

Though not specific to bladder polyps, blood tests may be conducted to assess the overall health of the dog and to rule out other conditions that might be causing similar symptoms. These could include complete blood counts and blood chemistry profiles.

Treatment Options For Bladder Polyps in Dogs

Once the presence of bladder polyps is confirmed, various treatment options may be considered based on the size, location, and number of polyps, as well as the overall health of the dog.

Endoscopic Removal

  • Procedure: Bladder polyps can be easily removed with an endoscopic procedure thus avoiding an invasive surgery for your pet. We use a polypectomy snare which encircles the polyp with a thin wire around the base of the polyp. The polyp is resected and cauterized using electrocautery.

Surgical Removal

  • Polypectomy: This procedure is usually effective for larger, isolated polyps.

  • Cystotomy: In some instances, opening the bladder (cystotomy) may be necessary to remove multiple or hard-to-reach polyps.

Medication Management

  • Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to reduce inflammation in the bladder, though they do not remove the polyps.

  • Antibiotics: If a concurrent infection is found, antibiotics may be prescribed to tackle the bacterial component.

Laser Ablation

  • Co2 Laser: For some smaller polyps, laser ablation can be an option. This involves using a high-energy laser to burn away the polyp tissue.

Recovery Process From Bladder Inflammation with Polyps

The post-treatment period is crucial for both assessing the success of the chosen treatment and ensuring a comfortable recovery for the dog.

Postoperative Care

Monitoring: After surgical removal of the polyps, close monitoring for any signs of complications such as bleeding or infection is essential.

Pain Management: Appropriate pain medication will usually be prescribed to make the recovery period more comfortable for your pet.

Follow-Up Testing

Repeat Ultrasound: Follow-up imaging is generally recommended to ensure that the polyps have been successfully removed and are not recurring.

Urine Tests: Subsequent urinalyses may be conducted to monitor for any signs of infection or inflammation that could indicate the return of the polyps.

VetMed Treats Bladder Polyps in Dogs

VetMed stands out in the treatment of bladder polyps in dogs through its specialized focus on Endoscopic Removal. This minimally invasive technique allows for precise removal of polyps without the need for open surgery, offering a quicker recovery time and less discomfort for your pet. VetMed's team specializes in endoscopic procedures, ensuring your dog receives advanced and effective treatment for bladder polyps.


Questions You've Asked Us About Bladder Polyps in Dogs

Still have questions? Contact us here - we promise we'll answer them.

How are bladder polyps treated in dogs?

Here at VetMed, we treat bladder polyps with a minimally invasive procedure called Endoscopic Removal to offer a quicker recovery time and less discomfort for your pet.

How serious is a polyp on the bladder?

Is a bladder polyp the same as a tumor?

Are bladder polyps common in dogs?

What causes polyps on the bladder?


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