Bladder stones in dogs can cause painful urination issues and can be fatal if they completely block the bladder. In today's post, our Monroe vets discuss bladder stones in dogs including their symptoms and how they are treated.
Bladder Stones in Dogs
Bladder stones are also sometimes called cystic calculi or uroliths. These minerals often develop into rock-like formations in a dog’s urinary bladder.
They can be a collection of small tones or a single larger stone the size of a grain of sand to a piece of gravel. Small and large stones may coexist and cause an obstruction.
Symptoms of Bladder Stones
Common symptoms of bladder stones in dogs include:
- Dysuria (straining to urinate)
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
Stones can irritate, damage tissue, and cause bleeding when they rub against the bladder wall. If the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) or bladder wall becomes swollen or inflamed, urine flow may become physically obstructed, and muscle spasms may occur. This can result in dysuria.
Diagnosing Bladder Stones in Dogs
Though symptoms of bladder stones are similar to those of cystitis or uncomplicated bladder infection, the two are different. Most dogs who have bladder stones do not have a bladder infection. Therefore, your vet may need to do more investigation before diagnosing.
Some stones may be too small to feel with the fingers through the bladder wall, or the bladder may be inflamed. Here at Monroe Veterinary Clinic, our in-house diagnostics lab allows us to take X-rays, ultrasounds, and radiographic contrast studies to help diagnose your dog.
Treating Bladder Stones in Dogs
If your pooch is found to have bladder stones, your next question may be to ask, “What dissolves bladder stones in dogs?”
Bladder stones will typically have three potential treatments:
- Surgical removal
- Non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion
- Prescription diet and antibiotics
If left untreated, these stones can cause pain and obstruct the neck of the bladder or urethra, preventing your dog from fully emptying his or her bladder and only producing small squirts of urine.
Complete obstructions result in complete urine blockage. If the obstruction is not relieved, this can cause a potentially life-threatening condition and lead to a ruptured bladder. This would be classified as a veterinary medical emergency, which would need your veterinarian's immediate attention.
The prognosis is usually good after bladder stones have been eliminated. Your vet should take preventive measures to help keep the stones from recurring.
Your dog should visit your primary care veterinarian regularly (every few months) for X-rays or ultrasounds to determine if the stones have returned. If the stones are small enough, the vet may be able to remove them without surgery.
If your dog is having difficulty urinating, our veterinarians can help. We are experienced in diagnosing and effectively treating many conditions and illnesses.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.