Equine idiopathic hemorrhagic cystitis: Clinical features and comparison with bladder neoplasia

Fauna L. Smith, K. Gary Magdesian, Adam O. Michel, Betsy Vaughan, Christopher Michael Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: A new syndrome of hematuria in horses has been documented. Hypothesis/Objectives: Hemorrhagic cystitis is a novel cause of stranguria and hematuria in horses. This syndrome may be difficult to differentiate from bladder neoplasia because they share several clinical features. Animals: Eleven horses with idiopathic hemorrhagic cystitis and 7 horses with bladder neoplasia. Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Results: Hemorrhagic cystitis was detected on cystoscopy of affected horses, with hemorrhagic and thickened apical bladder mucosa. Clinical signs and endoscopic appearance of the bladder resolved within 3-8 weeks. Histopathology of bladder mucosal biopsy specimens featured neutrophilic and hemorrhagic cystitis. Histopathology was suggestive of dysplasia or neoplasia in 3 horses with hemorrhagic cystitis, yet the horses experienced complete resolution, suggesting that small biopsy specimens obtained by endoscopy can be difficult to interpret. Horses with bladder neoplasia had lower hematocrits, were older, more likely to be female, and more likely to have a mass detected on ultrasonographic examination of the bladder than horses with hemorrhagic cystitis syndrome. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Hemorrhagic cystitis represents a novel differential diagnosis for horses with hematuria, and is associated with a favorable prognosis. Although histopathology may suggest a neoplastic process, affected horses should be monitored cystoscopically, because complete resolution of hemorrhagic cystitis occurs. The cause of this disease is unknown, and warrants investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Bladder neoplasia
  • Cystoscopy
  • Hematuria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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