Canine Bladder Stones
Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Canine Bladder stones can
affect both male and female dogs of all breeds and all ages and are increasingly common. Here we present an introduction to the
different types of bladder stones in dogs and how they form.
In this article we explore:
of Dog Bladder Stones
crystals typically only develop into bladder stones in dogs
who have a bacterial bladder infection (cystitis). "Sterile struvite
stones" are struvite stones that form in dogs without the presence of a
UTI - this condition appears to be extremely rare.
infection in dogs are caused by bacteria in the
urethra. This bacteria produces magnesium,
phosphate, and ammonium. When the urine becomes
these waste products it becomes
alkaline which contributes to the formation of
struvite crystals. An acidic urine (normal for most dogs) helps to
dissolve the crystals.
Urine that stays in your dog's bladder
longer than usual puts your dog at an increased risk of forming
struvite canine bladder stones.
susceptible to canine urinary tract infections include Boxers,
Dalmatians, Dachshunds, German
Shepherd Dogs, Pugs, and Irish and Cairn Terriers.
Calcium Oxalate Stones
most cases, the cause of calcium oxalate stone formation
unknown. The stones typically form in an acidic urine and
several conditions and dietary
factors are thought
to play a role in their development.
- Excessive calcium in the dog's urine
(hypercalcaemia) which is often caused by Addison's disease or certain
types of cancer, or diets high in calcium; *
oxalate in the dog's
diet, such as vegetables high
in oxalates, peanut butter, grass, etc.;
or inadequate amounts of inhibitors
growth (these are natural substances present in the urine
inhibit the growth of calcium oxalate crystals);
acidifiers added to a dog's diet aimed
at preventing struvite stones;
or decrease the acidity of the urine which can stimulate stone
used for long periods of time, can actually cause formation of stones.
to avoid in dogs prone to forming calcium oxalate
drugs such as Prednisone;
such as Lasix (Furosemide);
Acid (Vitamin C);
* Note, excessive calcium in a dog's urine is widely regarded as one of
the possible causes of CaOx bladder stones in dogs. However, this
theory is disputed by Narda Robinson, DO, DVM:
frequently heard mantra
against human food holds that fruits and
vegetables, especially those with higher calcium, cause CaOx stones.
While it is true that plants are sources of calcium oxalate, CaOx
stones in the urine are not a result of an increased concentration of
calcium in the urine, as many incorrectly claim."
Ammonium Urate Stones
Certain liver diseases such as Portosystemic Shunts (PSS)
whereby blood that would normally flow through the liver, instead
bypasses the liver.
A genetic defect which causes excess urinary excretion of cystine.
of Canine Bladder Stones
signs of bladder stones in dogs are similar to
those seen in dogs with other
frequency of urination;
small amounts of urine;
licking of the genitals;
fever and poor appetite;
in the bladder area;
Increased thirst and volume of
urine, or urinary
incontinence are not typical of canine bladder stone symptoms. These
are more common with diabetes or kidney
disease in dogs.
Bladder stones in male dogs are far more dangerous than in female dogs, as they can cause a blockage in the male’s longer, narrower urethra, preventing him from being able to urinate.
This condition can cause acute canine renal failure, hyperkalemia, septicemia, and death within a few days.
If your furry friend is exhibiting any canine bladder stone symptoms -
Rush him to a veterinarian for immediate emergency care!
of Bladder Stones in Dogs
Your veterinarian will usually diagnose canine
bladder stones after appropriate testing identifies:
dog has a
urinary tract infection (Struvite
urine (acidic pH);
- Excessive crystals in the dog's
bladder stone can be seen on X-ray
of Canine Bladder Stones
canine bladder stones are found in varying sizes, numbers,
locations, and can be comprised of
different minerals, there is no one-size-fits-all approach
to treating and/or preventing canine bladder stones.
Treatment may include one or more of the
- Urohydropropulsion - Under
anesthesia, saline is filled into the bladder using
a urinary catheter. The bladder is then compressed, forcing
the stones back out with the solution. This method can only
be used with smaller bladder stones in dogs which do not risk blocking the urethra.
- An attempt to
dislodge the stones by pushing them back into the bladder and freeing
the flow of urine. In most cases, canine bladder stone surgery will
then be performed;
This is the only option for Calcium Oxalate stones as they cannot be
dissolved. Dog bladder stone surgery is called cystotomy, and when stones are in the urethra, the procedure is called a urethrotomy. The stones will then be submitted for laboratory analysis.
- Urine culture (Struvite stones) to check for canine
urinary tract infection. Appropriate antibiotic therapy or alternative
infection-fighting treatment from a holistic
eliminate UTI. Repeated
follow-up urine cultures to ensure the dog is infection free;
dog foods or other vet recommended
dog food or special diet in an attempt to dissolve your dog's bladder
- Urinary acidifiers -This treatment is considered risky as the exact dosage
that is safe and
effective is often not known. If your vet suggests urinary acidifiers
short-term acidification, your safest option would be to consider a
therapy such as cranberry extract, rather than conventional
medications (such as methionine).
Suspect bladder stones in your pooch?
would value a second
opinion about your dog's bladder stone diagnosis and
treatment, we highly recommend you consider the
following very reputable on-line service.
Ask a Vet is extremely inexpensive (average cost $9 - $15) and
offers prompt one-on-one response from a qualified veterinarian.
- Canine Bladder Stones - Causes, Sytmptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
- More on Bladder Stones in Dogs - Types and How They Form
- Canine Urinary Tract Infection - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- Dog Bladder Infection - At Home Prevention Tips for Dog
Urinary Problems - Prevent and
Recurrence (Coming Soon)
- Canine Bladder Stones Prevention - Prescription Dog Food, Homemade
Dog Food Recipes, Natural Dog Supplements and Other Home Care Tips (Coming Soon)
- Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms - Renal Failure in Dogs and Renal Dog Food Diets
- Low Protein Dog Food - Unlike high protein dog food, reduced protein dog foods are
usually only indicated as a treatment aid for various dog health problems
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Canine Bladder Stones