Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Cystitis, Bladder Inflammation or Infection

Bladder infection is defined as the ability to culture bacteria from an uncontaminated urine sample. Unlike some other species, bladder infection in horses is rare and usually exists because the normal function of the bladder is disrupted by some other condition such as cancer, and conditions that cause bladder paralysis.

Healthy horses produce large quantities of urine and rapidly fill, empty and thus flush their bladders. In healthy horses, bacteria are flushed away if they are introduced in some way. Mares can suffer from birthing or breeding trauma can predispose them to an infection.

In the rare case that a horse has a simple bacterial urinary tract infection, antibiotics should eliminate it. Commonly used antibiotics generally develop very high levels in the urine of horses.


  • Is there an underlying disorder that caused a bladder infection?

    Manage other medical problems that predispose to bladder dysfunction, and the bladder infection will go away.
    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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