Urinary Bladder Stones in Dogs

Believe it or now, dogs can get urinary bladder stones. In fact, it’s fairly common. Owners often bring their pet in for frequent urination, accidents in the house, or they are seeing obvious blood in the urine.

While these symptoms often just indicate an inflamed or infected urinary bladder, they can also be signs of actual stones within the bladder. These stones are really mineral crystals that have formed together like a snow ball. These minerals are often either magnesium or calcium based salts that are excreted in the urine. Different circumstances can contribute to these mineral salts being formed in the bladder in abnormal quantities. Some diets may contain excess in these minerals. The pH of the urine (acidity or alkalinity) can play a big role. And on occasion bacteria may migrate up the urethra into the bladder and resulting infection can trigger this.

Diagnosis of bladder stones here at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital involves collecting urine for a urinalysis and usually performing an abdominal ultrasound. Ultrasound is the quickest, least invasive method of visualizing stones in the bladder. In fact, it normally does not even require sedation in most pets.

If stones are found, treatment may involve conservative means, like antibiotics and dietary change. Or in many cases surgery is required to manually remove the stones. Which form of treatment depends on which kind of mineral the stone is composed of. Some magnesium stones may be dissolved over several weeks with a special prescription diet (Hill’s S/D). But often surgery is needed as the stones do not respond to dietary therapy. The procedure is major abdominal surgery, but results are usually very good.

Once the stones are removed, a change in diet is nearly always recommended to try to prevent the stones from recurring. Without dietary adjustment, the incidence of stone recurrence is pretty high.

If you have more questions about this, please call the Rannals Small Animal Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas at 903-839-7235 to schedule an appointment.