Bladder stones in dogs

Questions and answers about dog health care

What Are Bladder Stones In A Dog Or Cat?  
Questions and answers about bladder stones in dogs and cats

It's always a shock to find out that your dog or cat has bladder stones.  Most pet owners respond, "Well, how did that happen?"  Several predisposing factors must be in place for a dog or cat to generate a stone, also called a calculus.  If tiny crystals form in the urine they tend to adhere to each other as well as onto bacteria or other small cellular debris, just like ice building up into a hail stone.  There are several kinds of cystic calculi (bladder stones) and a few choices you should know about to resolve this problem.


Question:
  My veterinarian showed me an x-ray of my Miniature Schnauzer and it shows he has a bunch of bladder stones!  He's only 2 years old and I had no idea the stones were there.  How do they get there and is surgery the only way to get rid of them? 

dog drinking water
Even the amount of water consumed
 daily will have an effect on the
 development and prevention
 of bladder stones.

Answer:   dog... bladder stones... what are... what to do about

stones  What are bladder stones...
You're not alone!  Bladder stones, also called cystic calculi, occur in many breeds of dogs and cats and come in a variety of types and sizes.  If the developing stones are small enough they will pass out in the urine and there's no harm done.  If they are too big to pass they can cause chronic cystitis (long term bladder inflammation).  As they increase in size the calculi harbor bacteria, irritate the bladder lining, and even can cause a serious obstruction to urine flow which, of course, warrants emergency medical attention!
stones  What causes bladder stones...
     Some breeds are more likely to have kidneys that generate urine with high levels of dissolved minerals and protein... Schnauzers, for example.  If the urine concentration, acidity (the pH of the urine), presence of bacteria and protein are such that dissolved minerals morph into crystals the crystals eventually coalesce into stones.  The bladder wall suffers from physical irritation of the calculi.  Once bladder stones are present, too, there's nearly 100% chance an infection is present.
stones  What to do about...
    
Depending upon the type, size, and numbers of calculi... and the patient's overall health status, surgical removal can be a good choice.  Some stones can be dissolved gradually through use of highly specialized therapeutic diets.
stones  Prevention...
  After stone removal, long term control of bladder infection and avoidance of foods that promote crystal formation are important to prevent reoccurrence.  Periodic urine testing will identify urinary tract infections before stones can develop.

Doctor's Notesdog diet and bladder stones

       Dietary factors play a huge role in development of bladder stones.  And after stone removal, feeding a  special diet for the specific stone really helps prevent reoccurrence.

Check a urine sample!
  
If at any time your dog or cat seems to have urinary tract issues, be sure a urine sample is checked by your veterinarian.

What kind of stone is it?
  
The recovered stone often can be determined visually.  Otherwise, they are sent to a veterinary pathology lab for positive determination. 

     

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bladder stones dog bladderstones dog bladder stones dog_bladderstones
Bladder stones come in many shapes, composition and sizes.  All these were removed from one dog! This density in the bladder seen on a radiograph (x-ray) shows what most
 likely is an oxalate stone.
Surgery, called a cystotomy, is commonly done to remove bladder stones. The three stones in this image turned
 out to be a type of struvite stone.
dog drinking water dog indoors dogs and cats get bladder stones bladder stone in a cat
The amount of water intake has
 a marked impact on the 
development of bladder stones.
The opportunity to empty the bladder
 impacts the probability of developing
 bladder infections and bladder stones.
Dogs develop bladder stones more often than cats.  Each specie has unique peculiarities regarding urinary tract problems. This image shows a bladder stone from a cat.  The surface was very rough and pitted, 
a setting for chronic bacterial infection 
and bladder wall irritation.
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Related Question:
    
I was told that I shouldn't get a Pekingese because they develop bladder stones.  I didn't even know dogs got bladder stones!  
     I want a small breed dog so which breed should I get because I sure don't want one that's going to develop stones!

 

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Answer:  bladder stones... breeds predisposed to...
    
Pekes are not more likely to develop bladder stones than other breeds; but, since fate usually throws curves at us, if you get a Pekingese yours probably will!  If you like the breed get one and then make it a habit to have your veterinarian check a urine sample at least every 6 months.  If crystals show up or the degree of acidity or alkalinity (pH) is abnormal or if bacteria are discovered you can correct some predisposing factors before actual calculi (stones) form.
     Some breeds are predisposed to developing bladder stones... but that does not mean all individuals of that breed will have this experience.  Schnauzers and Pugs seem more likely to develop struvite stones, Dalmatians are notorious for developing oxalate stones, cats usually have struvite stones.
     No matter what breed you choose, learn all you can about what problems seem more prevalent in that breed.  Then be proactive in your vigilance to prevent or correct any problems as they arise.

 

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