Did you know that dogs can get bladder stones just like humans? Bladder stones are a fairly common ailment in dogs, and while they are painful, they are usually pretty easy for a veterinarian to treat. It is important that, as a dog owner, you know the signs of bladder stones so that you can get your dog the treatment that it needs.
What Are Bladder Stones?
Bladder stones are small, rock-like formations of minerals that form in the bladder. Bladder stones can vary in size and quantity. While some dogs will have tiny stones that can be passed, others might have large stones that require medical intervention.
There are a few different types of bladder stones, but two types make up over 85 percent of the bladder stones found in dogs. The first type of bladder stones is called struvite. Struvite bladder stones make up the majority of the bladder stones found in dogs. Calcium oxalate bladder stones are also very common in dogs, and their frequency has been increasing according to some vets.
The differences in types of bladder stones have everything do to with the composition of said bladder stones. It is likely that your veterinarian will determine the type of bladder stone your dog is dealing with by viewing a urine sample under a microscope.
Signs of Bladder Stones in Dogs
There are a few different symptoms of bladder stones in dogs, but the most common are:
- Blood in the urine
- Increased need to urinate
- Straining to urinate
When not taken care of, bladder stones can lead to complete obstruction of the urinary tract, which can be life-threatening. This happens when the bladder stones try to exit the bladder with urine and get stuck in the urethra.
Why Do Bladder Stones Form?
There are a number of factors involved in the formation of bladder stones. Here are a few reasons why your dog may have bladder stones:
- Increased or high levels of minerals build up in the urine and start to stick together to gradually form more or larger bladder stones
- Alkaline or acidic urine pH can form bladder stones
- Bacterial infection in the bladder can lead to unbalanced pH levels in urine and cause crystal formation
- Abnormal metabolism of minerals can form bladder stones
Some dog breeds are more prone to developing bladder stones. For example, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Pugs, Dalmatians, and Welsh Corgis tend to be more susceptible to developing bladder stones.
Treating Bladder Stones in Dogs
Depending on the size and number of bladder stones that have formed in your dog’s urinary tract, your veterinarian may recommend a few different treatment options. Some of the most common treatment recommendations include:
- Medication to treat the cause of the bladder stones, such as antibiotics in the case of a urinary tract infection
- Fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys and urinary tract to help your pet pass small stones
- Pain medication to increase comfort
- Surgery to remove stones
- Prescription diet to help dissolve stones and prevent more from developing
In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend a combination of these treatments to help your pet overcome bladder stones.
Preventing Bladder Stones in Dogs
Diet and water intake are major factors in preventing the formation of bladder stones. There are special dog foods made to deter the formation of bladder stones in dogs, but keep in mind that this diet change will need to be long-term to prevent bladder stones. Additionally, the diet needs to be nutritionally balanced to make sure that your pet is getting everything that it needs. Your dog’s veterinarian can help you find an appropriate dog food. You also need to make sure that your dog is staying well-hydrated.
If you believe that your pet might be battling bladder stones, you should take them in to see a veterinarian as soon as possible for their comfort and safety.