Summary Of Bladder Stones In Dogs
Bladder stones are a rock-like formation of minerals, ranging in size, that are developed in the urinary tract. Maintaining a well-balanced diet as well as ensuring your dog always has access to plenty of water, so they can flush out the bladder consistently, will help you prevent bladder stones from developing. Complete prevention of bladder stones in dogs is very hard, but annual check-ups with your veterinarian will help your dog stay healthy.
How Did My Dog Get Bladder Stones
There are several theories of how bladder stones form. The most commonly accepted theory is called the Precipitation- Crystallization Theory. This theory states that one or more stone-forming crystalline compounds are present in elevated levels in the urine. This may be due to dietary factors or due to some previous disease in the bladder, especially a bacterial infection. Sometimes the condition may be due to a problem with the body’s metabolism.
When the amount of this compound exceeds a threshold level, the urine becomes saturated and cannot hold any more of the compound. The saturation level depends on the specific minerals that are present and the pH of the urine. These excess compounds precipitate out of solution and form tiny crystals. The sharp crystals irritate the bladder lining, causing a production of mucus. The crystals and mucus stick together, forming clusters that gradually enlarge and harden into stones.
How Are Bladder Stones In Dogs Diagnosed
In some cases, your vet may be able to palpate the bladder and feel the stones. If your dog has a urinary blockage, your vet should palpate very cautiously. Otherwise theres a risk of rupturing the bladder.
But usually theyll want to confirm a bladder stone diagnosis with x-rays. Some types of mineral stones arent visible on x-rays. So your vet may use ultrasound or a theyll do a contrast x-ray with dye.
Your vet will also want to find out which type of stone it is. Treatment is different for different types of stones. Removing stones for testing is the only way to be certain. But other factors can help your vet figure out which kind of stone it is
- Type of any crystals in the urine
- Whether stones can be seen on x-rays
- Your dogs sex, age and breed
- If there is bacterial infection
Your vet may also check blood work for any unusual results.
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Home Care For Dogs After Cystotomy
After your pet has been released from the hospital you must restrict his activity in order to allow the incision to heal. Keep your dog in the house and allow him outside on a leash only for two weeks.
To ensure your pets comfort your veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or pain-killers for the first few days after surgery.
Oral antibiotics may be continued for several days until the culture results are available. The results may dictate that the same antibiotics be continued, that a different antibiotic be prescribed, or that antibiotics be discontinued altogether.
If your pet had stones in the bladder or urethra, his diet may need to be changed. Diet recommendations vary based upon the specific type of stones that are present.
Watch your pet closely for potential complications after surgery. Observe the incision twice daily for redness, swelling or discharge from the incision. Note the urine color and whether it appears to be blood-tinged. Also, determine whether your pet is urinating easily or appears to strain when urinating. If you have any concerns, contact your veterinarian immediately.
How Quickly Can Bladder Stones Form In Dogs
The time required for bladder stones to form in dogs varies. On average it takes somewhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months. Larger stones tend to take multiple months to form, but there have been cases reported with large bladder stones forming in as little as two weeks. The speed of growth for the bladder stones in dogs depends on the quantity of crystalline material that is present as well as the degree of infection.
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Types Of Bladder Stones
There are different types of stones, each formed from a complex mixture of minerals. Two of the most common are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Each type tends to develop under specific conditions.
Struvite stones develop when struvite crystals, which arent found in normal urine, combine with certain bacteria. The presence of struvite crystals alone do not require treatment, but when combined with a bacteria-produced enzyme called urease, stone formation is possible.
With calcium oxalate stones, there is a strong hereditary component to formation. Certain dogs may be genetically predisposed to produce defective nephrocalcin, which is a substance in urine that naturally inhibits the formation of calcium oxalate stones. However, dogs without a genetic propensity can still develop calcium stones.
How Are Bladder Stones Formed And Treated
Bladder stones are a collection of minerals and other materials. Most bladder stones in dogs are made from struvite, calcium oxalate, urate, or cystine crystals. In many cases, the specific type of crystal involved can be seen in a sample of urine viewed under the microscope.
If struvite is the diagnosis, a veterinarian will treat the underlying cause and may recommend a therapeutic diet that will dissolve the stones and crystals. Dogs prescribed antibiotics will typically use the drugs while consuming the therapeutic dog food, and possibly longer if needed. Surgery or other procedures like lithotripsy will be necessary to get the stones out of the bladder. The therapeutic diet for dissolving struvite stones, however, must be given under a veterinarians supervision. This is because they are formulated to make the dog produce more acidic urine than they would otherwise in order to break down the stone. If urinary acidification is taken too far, calcium oxalate stones can be the result.
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Cystotomy Procedure For Dogs
The procedure itself has relatively few complications. Dogs must be placed under general anesthesia for a cystotomy. Thus, pre-anesthetic bloodwork may be performed before surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy and to help your veterinarian determine the best anesthetic regime to use.
The cystotomy is performed through an incision on your dogs belly which is located towards the rear of the abdomen. In a male dog, the incision is off to one side of the prepuce/penis. The bladder is isolated and an incision is made.
Once the bladder has been accessed, your veterinarian removes the stones and so they can be analyzed for their composition collects samples and cultures or repairs ectopic ureters or the bladder wall. The bladder incision is sutured and the abdomen is flushed to remove any urine that may have leaked into it during the procedure. The abdominal incision is then closed.
After a cystotomy, your pet may be given pain-killers and antibiotics may be administered if infection is suspected or confirmed.
How Did My Dog Get These Stones
Normal dog urine is slightly acidic and contains waste products from metabolism including dissolved mineral salts and other compounds. Struvite is a normal component of dog’s urine and will remain dissolved as long as the urine is acidic and is not too concentrated. If the urine becomes exceptionally concentrated or if it becomes alkaline , struvite crystals will precipitate or fall out of solution.
In dogs, struvite bladder stones usually form as a complication of a bladder infection caused by bacteria that produce an enzyme known as urease. This enzyme breaks down the urea that is normally present in the urine causing an excess production of ammonia this ammonia production then causes the urine to become alkaline. Ammonia in the urine also causes bladder inflammation. Under these environmental conditions, struvite crystals will precipitate out of solution and collect around any cells or debris that may have formed in the bladder as a result of inflammation. Female dogs tend to get these types of bladder infections and stones much more frequently than males, probably because their shorter, wider urethra makes it easier for bacteria to pass up the urethra into the bladder. In some studies, up to 85% of dogs with struvite bladder stones were female.
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Bladder Stones In Dogs: Is Surgery The Only Option
Heres a trivia question for you: Whats a urolith?
If you answered bladder stone, youre right! Urolith is the technical term for bladder stones. The suffix -lith means stone.
Bladder stones can be very painful for your dog. And sometimes she may need surgery to remove them. But there are some new technologies that can help remove stones without surgery.
This post explains bladder stones in dogs. And well tell you what you need to know about conventional veterinary treatments.
Ask To Pay In Installments
If you are unable to pay for the entire surgery upfront or prefer to break it up, ask your veterinarians office about paying in installments. Not all offices will offer this, but many offices will do their best to work with you to get your dog the surgery they need without putting you into a financial crisis.
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Preventing Bladder Stones In Pets
Working to prevent bladder stones from forming in the first place can prevent the headache of treating them later. If your pet is prone to bladder stones, speak to your veterinarian about switching your dog or cat to a specialized diet or diet additive that will make your pet less likely to develop the stones. These diets are specifically formulated to be used long-term, unlike the diets that are used for stone dissolution.
Additionally, pets with chronic bladder stone formation should have their urine monitored frequently by a veterinarian.
If your dog or cat has bladder stones, a veterinary internist can help. If you are in Austin, Texas, AVES Contact AVES today at 512-343-2837 to get your pets bladder stones treated.
Recovery For Bladder Stone Removal In Dogs
Bladder stones in dogs are mineral densities that form inside the bladder. They can form one at a time or in the hundreds.
The formation of bladder stones in dogs is usually related to a change in urine pH. This change in pH can be either acidic or alkaline, which will affect which type of stone ultimately forms. Diet is one factor that can affect urine pH.
Urine concentration can also affect bladder stone formation: the more concentrated a dogs urine, the more likely stone formation is. The amount of water a dog drinks can affect their urine concentration.
A urinary tract infection may also be a factor in the development of bladder stones. In these cases, the stones are often struvite stones .
If your dog has bladder stones, your vet might recommend surgical removal, since bladder stones can cause pain, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, and in the worst case, a urinary obstruction .
This procedure is called a cystotomy, and it involves opening the urinary bladder to remove the stones. The incisions are then closed with stitches and/or staples.
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Bladder Stones In Dogs Signs Treatment Recovery
Bladder stones are a serious urinary condition in our canine friends.
Not only can bladder stones lead to significant discomfort for the dog affected, but they can be life threatening if they progress to blocking urine flow.
So what are bladder stones, and how do our pups get them in the first place?
In this article we will discuss the details of bladder stones in dogs, and help you better understand the treatment options on the table for this urinary condition.
Causes Of Bladder Stones In Dogs
The definitive cause of bladder stone formation is not fully known. However, there are several factors that contribute to the formation of stones.
- Prevalence of a urinary tract infection
- Inflammation of the urinary bladder lining
- High dietary intake of certain minerals and proteins
- Reduced water intake
- Large amount of salts in the urine
- Optimal pH levels in the urine for stone formation
- Breed predispositions
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My Dog Has Struvite Bladder Stones What Does That Mean
Bladder stones , are rock-like formations of minerals that form in the urinary bladder, and are more common than kidney stones in dogs. One of the more common uroliths in the dog is composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate. The more common name for this type of bladder stone is struvite bladder stone.
The Role Of Nutrition In Treating And Helping To Prevent Bladder Stones
Once the stones are out of your dog’s urinary system, nutrition and water consumption play an important role in preventing them from coming back.
Because crystals and stones are less likely to form in dilute urine, it’s crucial to both increase the amount of water that your dog drinks and feed a food that decreases the amount of mineral in your dogs urine. You can increase your pup’s water intake by moistening their food with water, feeding them canned food, flavoring their water with low sodium chicken or beef broth or putting their water in a dog water fountain.
In addition to these, you can also feed your dog food that’s specially formulated to help reduce the risk of stone formation. For example, Hill’s Prescription Diet has complete and balanced therapeutic dog foods that provide high-quality nutrition while reducing the risk of calcium oxalate and struvite crystal formation by reducing the amount of minerals in your dogs urine. Foods that help reduce the risk of bladder stones come in both canned and dry forms.
Even if your dog develops bladder stones, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of them recurring or extend the time between recurrences. Your vet may recommend an X-ray to monitor your dog once or twice a year so that if new stones form, they can be removed through non-surgical means. You and your veterinarian will work together as a team to determine the best ways to manage and monitor your dog.
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Ask What You Can Do From Home
Just like going to your doctor, or the hospital, return visits typically cost you more money, making your overall bill much larger. To avoid unnecessary vet visits for simple tasks, ask the veterinary staff what tasks you can easily complete at home.
Performing simple care tasks at home, will both allow you to take the best care of your dog, and save you the money you would have spent at the clinic. Cleaning wounds, and rebandaging, taking your dogs temperature, and even simple injections are among the many skills you could learn.
Antibiotics For Bladder Stones
Bladder infections are a common cause of struvite bladder stones. If your dog is suffering from struvite stones, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat his or her bladder infection. In the case of struvite stones, its essential to treat the underlying issue that caused them, as well as the stones themselves. If the condition at fault is left untreated, your dog could develop struvite stones again.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Stones In Dogs
The symptoms of bladders stones or crystals causes abrasions within it, which can lead to a degree of bleeding and inflammation followed by pain and discomfort. This can be present in some or all the following symptoms:
- Increased drinking and urination
- Presence of blood/red discolouration in the urine
- Straining and/or vocalisation when attempting to urinate
- Production of small amounts of urine frequently
- Complete lack of urine production despite attempts to void the bladder
How To Diagnose Bladder Stones In Dogs
As we mentioned above, diagnostic imaging is very important when your dog is experiencing symptoms of a UTI.
Many bladder stones are missed when simply sending dogs home with a round of antibiotics, unaware that bladder stones are the cause of their symptoms.
The most common way to diagnose bladder stones in dogs is through abdominal radiographs.
Most bladder stones can be easily viewed on x-ray, but there are some stones that are radiolucent.
For these stones, an ultrasound can be used as a diagnostic tool.
You can even use a contrast study if an ultrasound is not available, which will cause the outline of the stones to glow in the bladder.
In some cases, vets can feel a dogs bladder stone while palpating the abdomen.
However, there is no way to rule out a bladder mass versus a stone, so this is not considered a definitive diagnostic tool.
Your vet will also perform a urine analysis under a microscope to search for any evidence of infection, as well as which types of crystals are in the urine.
Identifying the crystals that led to the stones is critical when determining the plan of action going forward.
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Bladder Stones In Dogs: Everything You Need To Know
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Surgical Removal Of Bladder Stones
A cystotomy is a surgical procedure that removes any bladder stones from the urinary bladder.
This involves making an incision directly into the bladder, removing any stones, and flushing the bladder thoroughly after.
Your vet will also flush any stones that could be blocking the urethra, as well as testing for any potential urinary obstructions.
This is a straightforward procedure that many veterinarians perform each day, with most dogs returning to their normal selves in 7-10 days.
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