Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows specially trained veterinarians to look inside the urinary bladder and the urethra (tube connecting bladder to outside body) using a special instrument. Cystoscopy is endoscopy of the bladder and urethra performed with a thin lighted tube called a cystoscope. This procedure is performed in a sterile manner under anesthesia in dogs and cats. This procedure does not require an incision as the camera, scope and instruments are passed through the penis in males or the vulva in females.
Cystoscopy allows veterinarians to see areas of the bladder and urethra that do not show up well on x-rays or ultrasound imaging. Typically, a primary care veterinarian will refer a pet to a Board-certified Small Animal Internal Medicine Specialist for this procedure after full blood work, X-rays, urinalysis and urine cultures have been performed.
Cystoscopy could be helpful to determine the cause of:
When needed, the veterinarian can insert tiny surgical tools for biopsy through the cystoscope. Some anatomic abnormalities can not only be identified but also corrected (if indicated) with small laser fibers through the cystoscope. This procedure may
avoid the need for more invasive surgery.
Cystoscopes can be either rigid (used in female animals) or flexible (used in male dogs). Cystoscopy is challenging in male cats (due to the very small urethra) but can be done with a very small scope or by accessing the bladder with a small surgical procedure and then the urethra is visualized through the bladder.
Cystoscopy takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes depending on experience of the veterinary specialist performing the procedure, and the pet is typically sent home the same day.
Lithotripsy is the physical breaking of stones formed by the body within the urinary tract of cats and dogs. Lithotripsy is usually performed within the body using a laser fiber via surgery or cystoscopy with a shock wave applied to the stones.
Lithotripsy can be helpful at treating:
The dog or cat is usually kept overnight for monitoring after the procedure but will not have incisions and often goes home the next morning.
Paige Mackey, DVM, MPH, DACVIM (SAIM)