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Bladder Stone in Your Dog

Bladder stones (uroliths or urinary calculi) are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder of your dog. These stones are usually composed of minerals such as magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate (struvite stone), calcium oxalate, and uric acid. Usually, the struvite stones are caused by the infection in your dogs, but the rest of the stones results from the metabolic disturbances, hereditary, and nutritional imbalances of your dog.

Typically, a dog’s urine is slightly acidic in nature and contains waste materials such as dissolved mineral salts and other compounds. These salts include magnesium, calcium oxalate, and other ions. These salts will remain dissolved in the urine until the urine remains acidic. If the acidic urine turns alkaline, these ions or crystals will precipitate or fall out of the solution. That’s how bladder stone develops in your dog’s bladder.

Clinical Signs of Bladder Stones

The most common signs in dogs with bladder stones are hematuria (blood in the urine) and dysuria (straining to urinate). Hematuria occurs because of the rubbing of stones against the wall of the urinary bladder, which irritates and damages the tissue and causes bleeding. Dysuria results from the inflammation and swelling of the bladder wall or the urethra. Other signs of bladder stone include:

  • Difficult urination

  • Swelling of the abdomen

  • Dribbling of urine

  • Bloody urine

  • Pungent urine

  • Licking their genital area more than normal

  • Reduced appetite

  • Vomiting

Diagnosis of Bladder Stones

Your veterinarian will make a diagnosis based on the clinical history and clinical signs. He will further take radiographs of the abdomen for confirmatory diagnosis of stones within the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Ultrasonography or dye test also recommended for bladder stone diagnosis.

If needed, a blood test will be performed for a complete blood cell count and chemistry profile of blood to check the condition of the mineral status of your dog. Cytology and urine examination also preferable for the diagnosis of urolithiasis.

Treatment of Bladder Stones in Your Dog

 Treatment protocol for urinary calculi in your dog should include both surgical and non-surgical removal of bladder stones. At first, your veterinarian will recommend changing the diet of your dog. According to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), you need to move into certain therapeutic diets available in the market for dogs with struvite stones. But calcium oxalate stones can't be dissolved by changing nutrition.

If the above option fails, surgery is needed for an emergency case. Your veterinarian will perform a cystotomy to remove the obstruction to save the dog's life. If the bladder stones are tiny, he may perform urohydropropulsion to pass a special catheter into the bladder and then flush the stones out. Although, veterinarians and nutritionists suggest avoiding too much alkali food from your dog’s diet to prevent bladder stones in your dog. Always consult with your veterinarian for any emergency.