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Bladder surgery showed no cancer or stones.

Species: Dog
Breed: Shih Tzu Mix
Age: 2-5 years
I am sorry in advance this is a little long. I just wanted to get the right information to you.

I have a Shih Tzu mix that I adopted May 2010. Right before I adopted her, April 2010, she had bladder surgery and had bladder stones removed. Also, she was tested and no cancer was found. When I adopted her and took her to her first vet visit, I was told to expect bloody urine for some time. She also had an inflamed bladder and I was told to give her glucosamine daily.

Fast forward to now. The blood in her urine never fully stopped. It has actually gotten worse in the last month or so. Her urine is also awful smelling. I called the vet and came in Monday, December 27, 2010. He felt her belly and underside and stated he felt some sort of "mass" on her bladder. He recommended surgery to go in and see what was going on. He said he could do x-rays and all that, but it would just run up the bill and he would probably have to go in and look anyway. He said cancer was unlikely given that she recently tested negative, but it was a slim possibility. He felt that it was just a reoccurance of bladder stones. He ran no tests.

We agreed and she had surgery today. I just got a call and he found no mass or bladder stones. He took some of her "bladder wall" and sent it in for biopsy "to see if they find anything" that he did not find and ran a culture and sensitivity test. She is staying in the vet hospital until Thursday so he can make sure there is no bladder swelling.

So, here are my questions.

1) I have no idea what to even think now. What could be wrong? If it were cancer, would he have been able to spot it in surgery? Is cancer likely?

2) If no "mass" is even there, was surgery really the best option? Can it be something simple, like a bad infection?

3) Any advice whatsoever?

I am a bad WORRY wart. I have not slept in days. I have very bad luck with dogs and I am scared too death right now. Every dog I have ever had (I am 23 years old, so not too many) have died for some reason or another. Am I worrying for nothing?

Thank you SO much for any input.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for your question!

Bladder issues can be very frustrating!

My guess is that there is inflammation in the bladder wall as a result of having stones previously. Often it is really difficult to tell the difference between a mass and an inflamed bladder wall.

It sounds like your vet did the right things. Really, if they had done an ultrasound or other tests and it showed a mass they would do surgery to remove it. If there was no obvious mass they would likely have done surgery to see what they were missing.

It is also possible that she had a hidden infection in her bladder. So, it is a good thing that she had the culture of her urine. This will tell us if the bleeding is because of infection.

There is a small possibility she may have something called interstitial cystitis. This is a condition where we see inflammation in the bladder wall and don't know why. The biopsy will tell is if this is the case. It is really common in cats, but not common in dogs. Interstitial cystitis can be a lifelong condition but it is usually treated well with medication.

From what you have described, a tumor sounds really unlikely.

I really hope everything is ok!

Dr. Marie.

(p.s. I apologize that this took longer than expected...I was giving my little girl a bath and didn't hear my notification go off!)

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much, Dr. Marie!

I picked up Dazi, my Shih Tzu, yesterday. The surgery went well and biopsy/culture and sensitivity tests only revealed a Proteus infection. I am so happy!

Thank you again for your response. You relieved my mind. I need to stop worrying about things so much, but it is hard to when you fear the "unknown." :)

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Yay! I'm glad to hear all is well!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.