Bladder Stones in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment & Aftercare

Bladder stones form from crystal deposits that form from minerals in the dog’s kidneys and can grow so large that your pet is unable to urinate. An unrecognized or untreated bladder stone can have life-threatening consequences. For this reason, it is very important that you know the symptoms and if you suspect it, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What are bladder stones in dogs?

Bladder stones form from mineral crystals that lodge in the urinary tract. Urinary stones occur throughout the urinary tract and can be found in the kidney, bladder, urethra, or ureter. Urinary stones (uroliths) that occur in the bladder are called bladder stones.

Which bladder stones are there in dogs?

There are several species that differ in their mineral composition. If a dog develops bladder stones, it can be caused by a too high content of certain minerals in the food.

Types of bladder stones in dogs:

  • magnesium ammonium phosphate stones
  • Struvite or calcium oxalate stones
  • calcium carbonate stones
  • urate stones
  • cystine stones
  • ammonium urate stones

In order to prevent bladder stones from forming again, it is important to know the exact composition of the existing urinary stones, because the administration of medication and a corresponding diet is based on this.

What causes bladder stones in dogs?

Bladder stones in dogs can have a variety of causes. A bacterial urinary tract infection can increase the pH value in the urine, which supports the formation of struvite stones.

A decisive factor is too high a content of certain minerals in the feed. If the feed contains a lot of calcium, magnesium, or phosphorus, this promotes the formation of urinary stones.

Too little water intake in the dog can also lead to bladder stones. When a dog drinks too little, the kidneys reclaim the water they need from the urine. This leads to particularly concentrated urine with high salt content. A supersaturated solution is formed, from which salts fall out, which in turn are deposited in the urinary tract.

Certain diseases, such as liver dysfunction, can also cause urinary stones to form.

Some breeds are genetically at greater risk of developing urinary stones. For example, Dalmatians are the only breed that cannot break down some types of protein due to their metabolism and excrete them in the urine.

The following breeds are statistically more likely to suffer from bladder stones:

  • Dalmatian
  • Pug
  • Bulldog
  • Sled Dog (Husky)
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Boston Terrier

Gender also plays a role in the formation of bladder stones. Bitches often develop struvite stones, while males tend to suffer from other types of stones.

What Symptoms Cause Bladder Stones in Dogs?

The following symptoms can indicate bladder stones in dogs:

  • increased urination
  • frequent passing of only small amounts of urine
  • difficult urination
  • Painful sounds when urinating
  • pain in the abdominal area
  • a tight, tense stomach
  • incontinence
  • blood in the urine

These signs also appear in other diseases. However, you should definitely visit your veterinarian if your pet has visible problems with urination or if other symptoms appear so that they can make an accurate diagnosis. Are you unsure whether there are really indications of urinary stones? Then the veterinary team of Dr. Feeding bowl is available online. The veterinarians quickly and easily assess the situation of your pet via video chat and give you well-founded advice on how to proceed.

Disorders of the urinary tract often cause severe pain. If the bladder stones prevent urination, the urine builds up and can flow back up to the kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure.

How do you treat bladder stones in dogs?

To diagnose bladder stones, the vet will examine your dog’s urine. He also checks any bladder stones washed out for their composition. The position and size of the bladder stones can be determined with ultrasound and X-ray examinations.

Smaller bladder stones sometimes dissolve with medication. For larger urinary stones, surgery under general anesthesia is the usual treatment method. A new method, which is currently being tested in some states, is the treatment of bladder stones with laser technology, just like in humans.

If bladder stones are surgically removed from a dog, you as a pet owner face high costs. These can well be in the upper three-digit range. If you are the owner of a genetically predisposed pedigree dog, it may be advisable to take out health insurance for animals.

After bladder stone surgery, your dog will need to remain on antibiotics and other medications for some time and follow a lifelong diet to prevent new urinary stones from forming. Before purchasing any diet food, it is essential to know all the relevant information about the urinary stone as the diet will depend on the type of bladder stone diagnosed. In this way, the various diet feeds can be precisely tailored to specific urinary stones. For example, the ready-to-eat food for the prevention of struvite stones is rich in table salt but contains less protein, phosphorus, and magnesium; In addition, certain substances acidify the urine. Your veterinarian can recommend high-quality diet food.

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