Cystitis and Pyelonephritis



Infection of the bladder with resulting ascending infection to the kidneys

Causal agent

Bacterial infection of the bladder associated with Actinobaculum suis, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and streptococci.    

(Note Actinobaculum suis was called Eubacterium suis or Corynebacterium suis)

Environmental factors

Poor urination and water availability

Age group

Adult sows particularly parity 3+

Clinical signs

Acute:- Post -service.  Urinating blood, off food, collapse, sudden death, hypothermia. 

Chronic:-  Any time.  Urinating smoky to red/blood urine.  Rapid breathing, off food, weakness in hind legs, collapse and death.

Unlikely to be a herd problem if annual sow death % less than 5%


Photo shows a normal urine on the left and blood stained urine on the right from a sow with cystitis


Actinobaculum suis is a normal inhabitant of the boar’s prepuce.  The sow becomes infected at breeding

Incubation period

Very variable depending on the extent of damage to the sow’s bladder

Post mortem findings


Acute catarrhal haemorrhagic ulcerative cystitis with thickened bladder wall.  Acute changes to the ureterovesical junction.  Acute haemorrhagic ureteritis occasionally with occlusion and torsion.  Acute renal failure with haemorrhagic pyelitis

Acute catarrhal haemorrhagic cystitis

Ureteric torsion

Ulcerated megaureter

Acute pyelonephritis




Chronic and acute catarrhal haemorrhagic cystitis with thickening of the bladder wall.  Swollen chronic changes to the ureterovesical junction.  Ureteritis occasionally unilateral.  Chronic active intersitial nephritis and pyelonephritis





Chronic cystitis

Chronic swollen ureterovesical junction

Chronic active pyelonephritis

End stage kidney



Loose house and exercise to encourage urination

Continuous access to troughed water

Lincocin and tetracycline by intramuscular injections into the neck using a 1.5" 16g needle

Herd - Encourage regular and frequent urination


During the problem period check all sow's post-service (0-28 days) urination for any blood.  Treatment more effective when early

Ideally feed in the morning and heat check in th afternoon to encourage the sow's to rise and urinate frequently

Improve water availability


Lactating  sow's should receive water at a flow rate of 2+ litres per minute.  Gestating sows 1.5-2 litres per minute

Feed consumption on day 18 of lactation should approach 10 kg per day.  Feed intake is a good indication of water availability

Regularly maintain water supplies.  Particular areas to examine are water source; drinking device; accessible drinkers and management of drinkers

Farrowing house management

To limit trauma and infection of the vagina and bladder


Improve hygiene behind the sow by manually removing faeces 3 days prior and 7 days post-farrowing.  Very dirty rear regions should be cleaned with soap and water

Reduce manual farrowing as much as possible,use plastic gloves and clean hands

All sows manually farrowed should receive an appropriate antibiotic by 16g 1.5" needle intramuscularly into the neck

Encourage the correct use of oxytocin at 5 IU doses

Ideally increase lactating length to 24 days

Breeding area hygiene


At all times stalled sows must be separated for her urine and faeces

Clean all soiled rears of the sow particularly prior to service

Avoid contact with the boar's penis during service

Ensure that the underline of the boar is kept clean by managing the boar in a clean dry environment

Ensure service is carried out on a good non-slip floor

Do not serve lame sows with boars, only use AI

Cease heat checking by 'thumbing'

Zoonotic implications