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SmartVets Animal Hospital

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Bladder stones
Bladder stones or uroliths are  rock like deposits of  crystals, minerals or organic materials found in the urinary bladder. In dogs and cats, microscopic crystals of these stones cause inflammation of the bladder, but if they grow in size they can obstruct the outflow of urine partially or completely. The latter condition where urine outflow is totally plugged is life threatening for your pets.

Signs of bladder stones in dogs and cats

  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Passing  small quantities of urine each time
  • Painful urination taking longer than usual
  • Genital licking
  • Passing urine in unusual places

Remember not all dogs and cats with bladder stones show signs!

Causes 
There are different types of bladder stones and various factors lead to formation of such different types of stones. Some contributing factors are:

  • Decreased water intake
  • Nutritionally imbalanced diet
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Urine pH
  • Bacterial infections of the urinary bladder
  • Mineral concentration in the urine
  • Some drugs and mineral supplements
  • Metabolic disorder such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism


Diagnosis 
Sometimes vets may find bigger bladder stones by feeling them with fingers through the abdominal wall, but this method does not always find all stones.  More sensitive methods of diagnosis are X-ray, ultrasound, urinalysis and urine culture.

Treatment 
Determining the type of bladder stone might be necessary for a proper treatment. Your vet may recommend you one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Surgical removal: unless patients have other health concerns, bladder stones may be most effectively removed surgically through abdominal incisions.
  • Other methods: vet prescribed diet alteration to dissolve stones or modify urinary pH; increased water consumption; breakdown of stones with shock waves (lithotripsy).

Prevention

  • If available, surgically removed stones may be analysed for using a prescription diet.
  • Periodic urine tests to monitor signs of recurrence.
  • Provide adequate exercise and plenty of fresh water to the pets..