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Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows the inner lining (mucosa) of the urinary bladder to be endoscopically examined. Cystoscopy is usually performed at the time of urethroscopy. A rigid endoscope is typically used for cystoscopy in female patients, and a flexible endoscope is used in male patients.


Rigid endoscopes used during female cystoscopy

During cystoscopy, the endoscope is gently inserted into the urethra, and then guided into the urinary bladder. The  urinary bladder mucosa is examined for disease, which may appear as discoloration, irregularities, abnormal blood vessels, polyps or masses. Abnormalities are biopsied for analysis by a veterinary pathologist.


Taken during cystoscopy, this picture shows an instrument passed through the cystoscope to biopsy a tumor in the neck of the urinary bladder (the white fluffy areas) of a female dog. Bubbles are visible attached to the instrument.

Cystoscopy can also be used to identify the openings of the ureters, which, because of a congenital defect, can be abnormally developed and positioned (ectopic ureters) and cause urinary incontinence, especially in females dogs.

Symptoms that your pet may be exhibiting to indicate that cystoscopy may be useful include inability or straining to urinate, urine leakage especially at night (urinary incontinence), bloody urine or chronic urinary tract infections.