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Commonly referred to as “bladder stones”, urinary calculi in dogs is a medical condition called urolithiasis. It is possible for stones to get formed almost anywhere in the urinary tract of the animal. Urinary stones are typically found in ureters, urethra, kidneys or the bladder. But as far as dogs are concerned, 85 percent of the stones are formed in the bladder itself.
Bladder Stones: Signs and Symptoms
Although bladder stones in your dog might be very small in the beginning, they tend to grow both in size and/or number over time. If you suspect that your dog may have bladder stones, it might be good to look out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Frequent urination attempts but little production of urine
- Urinary accidents
- Discolored urine
- Blood in urine
- Too much effort to urinate
- Frequent licking close to the urinary opening
These specific clinical symptoms are also noticed with various other urinary tract related diseases such as tumors or infections. Therefore, it is vital to do a proper investigation to confirm the existence of bladder stones using tests such as an ultrasound or an x-ray or both.
Causes and Treatment of Bladder Stones
Bladder stones in dogs can be due to a variety of different reasons including:
- Increased mineral levels in the urine leading to precipitation and supersaturation of crystals.
- Bacterial infections disturbing urine pH levels.
- Acidic or alkaline urine pH can lead to the formation of stones. So the pH of the urine should remain fairly neutral.
Vets inform that in most cases, bladder stones diagnosed in dogs will be made up of struvite, urate, cystine or calcium oxate. If the diagnosis reveals struvite, then the veterinarian will examine the underlying cause and follow it up with a suitable treatment, for example, urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. Often a therapeutic diet is prescribed for dissolving the crystals and stones formed in a dog’s bladder. Generally speaking, a vet will use a combination of antibiotics and a therapeutic diet for treating bladder stones in your dog.
In several cases, a surgery or similar procedure such as lithotripsy is required for eliminating the stones from the dog’s bladder. Lithotripsy involves using ultrasonic shock waves for breaking up bladder stones.
Surgical removal of stones is often deemed to be the most successful treatment for bladder stones in dogs. It requires making an abdominal incision but the recovery period is usually very less. It is possible for the haematuria to stay for a couple of day following surgery but it finally gets resolved. It is important to understand that surgery isn’t the most suitable option for dogs with various other medical concerns.