Causes and prevention of Bladder Stones in Dogs


Dogs are the perfect companion like a friend, and they became a part of our family. They act as a link to connect us to paradise and they do not know about greediness or discontent. The dog shows, unconditional love and loyal, to their respective owners. We need to provide their basic needs like food and shelter. Besides, it is quite important to take care of your dog’s health with regular observation.

Bladder stone is also known as Urolithiasis condition, which causes urinary infection in dogs. These stones are tiny crystals, which are excreted through the urine system. These tiny crystals are aggregated to form stones of variable size and shape within the urinary system, anywhere range from 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Nearly, 80 % of the stones are found in the bladder and they also appear in some parts which includes, kidneys, ureters, urethra or any part of the urinary tract. There are several types of bladder stones that mostly depends on minerals made up of actual stones like: struvite stones which consists of magnesium, phosphate, ammonium, while others are formed from calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, and ammonium urate. Some type of bladder stones depends on the breed of the dog, and several other factors lead to the formation of the stone. The stones in the bladder are the most common disease in dogs.

What are the causes of Bladder stones?

There are four main factors that have been found, to be the major part for the development of stones in dogs and they are genetics, pH level of the urine, concentration of minerals found in stones, and the bacterial infections.

  • Genetics: Genetics is one of the reasons for the risk occurring in bladder. Only a few percent of all urolith is present in the form of purine stones, but their presence is significant in certain breeds. Bulldogs, Russian Black Terriers and Dalmatians develop urates, due to its genetic metabolic abnormality.
  • Concentration of minerals: Urine is saturated with excess amount of minerals, which resist to form bladder stones and consists of organic substances of proteins and it is surrounded by crystalline minerals. Diet can have a great impact, and is one of the initial step to treat and prevent uroliths. It is more effective, if your dog’s intake large quantity of water.
  • Urine pH levels: pH is an indicator used to measure the hydrogen ion concentration in the urine. The pH level of the urine is unbalanced or the level of urine is acidic in nature, should be checked, in order to avoid the formation of stones in the bladder.
  • Bacterial Infections: Some bacteria cause infections in the urine and cystitis produces an enzyme named urease. It reacts with chemical substances found in urine which causes stones to form. Normal urine is sterile in nature, so it gets affected easily.

What are the symptoms seen in dogs

In earlier, the size of stone is small, but, over time it can grow larger in number. Dogs with bladder stones have the following sign which includes:

  • Strain to urinate and this condition is known as dysuria.
  • Licking around the urinary opening.
  • It shows Discoloured urination.
  • They may have blood in urine or frequent passing of urine in small amount.
  • Causes urinary accidents.

To confirm the presence of these types of stones, apply a dye on bladder and it outlines the stones in the x-ray. On using this method, it shows the white area (dye) with a hole in the centre (stone). If this happens, take an immediate treatment to prevent the bladder from rupturing.

How to diagnose a dog affected from stones

Some bladder stones are not seen on radiographs and they are said to be radiolucent, which means that mineral composition is as such they do not reflect on the x-ray beam. Therefore, they are not seen on the film and they are found only in ultra sound examination. Crystals identified in urinalysis help the vet to identify stones, but it is necessary to note the complete chemical composition in dogs.

Treatment involved in bladder stones

There is several treatment methods for bladder stones in dogs, which are as follows:

A urinalysis & urine culture is used to treat urinary infections and to evaluate the function of the kidney to concentrate urine. Diet is an effective way of treatment, but often dissolves the larger stones. A special diet, have been developed for those dogs which are suffering from bladder stones. They require wet food, which contains fewer minerals and this causes formation of stones in dogs. These can be followed anywhere, and it takes nearly 60-150 days to work. It is not recommended for dogs to follow the diet for a long period of time. Sometimes, medications are prescribed for severe cases. Increase adequate consumption of water/ add broth to their dry food and it is one of the important treatment for dogs. There are chances to take a complete thyroid test for your dogs to analyze the level of thyroid hormone.

Antibiotics, also helps to treat this kind of disease by dissolving crystal or to clear any underlying infections, which will turn to get rid of any infections/stones. If the stones block the passage of urine, then your vet may perform urohydropropulsion, when your dog is under anaesthesia. The vet will flush stones back into the bladder and allows urine to through or to fill the bladder before flushing. If this method doesn’t work, you need to prefer surgery.

Stone analysis is not successful for all types of stones and it is necessary to determine the dissolved successfully or not. In certain cases, it takes longer time to dissolve larger stones. The dog may get affected by several infections like haematuria, dysuria etc, during this period of urethral, infection remains same. Not, all the dogs will follow a special diet, if it is not fed up fully, it won’t work in proper.

Prevention Taken

Once the stones dissolved, diet plays a vital role for preventing recurrence of stones. Add formulated special food for your dogs that block the formation of struvite, urate, crystine crystals and calcium oxalate. To eliminate urinary tract infections in your pets, then you can check urine tract twice a year and this might be helpful for prevention. Adding a small amount of salt to your dog’s water bowl would often increase the amount of water, if your pet drinks.

It is very difficult and painful for your pets; always have a keen eye on your dog to ensure that they are not having problem while passing urine. If you notice some signs, try to treat as soon as possible. When untreated, it may cause some harmful effects. Taking medical attention for your dogs is typical and very simple to treat.


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