Bladder stones, also called uroliths or cystic calculi, can form in many small animals, including our dogs. And they can be caused by a variety of issues — each requiring a unique treatment plan. Because of this, dog bladder stones require diagnosis from a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM).
If your dog has already been diagnosed with bladder stones or if you're concerned your dog might be suffering from this condition, you can use this resource to learn more. However, this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you're concerned about your pet's health, consult your veterinarian.
Here's a look at the types of dog bladder stones, common causes, signs, and treatment options you can discuss with your vet.
Dogs can have several different types of bladder stones. Each has a different mineral composition and has its own causes and treatments.
When a DVM diagnoses your dog with bladder stones, they will also want to identify the type of stone in order to find the proper treatment. Here are the most common types of bladder stones in dogs.
Bladder stones form when the conditions in your dog's bladder are abnormal. Their urine pH may become too low, causing minerals to build up in their system and create a climate that encourages stone formation. However, urine pH isn't typically the root cause of bladder stones — it's more likely to be a symptom of a broader issue. Here are the most common causes of dog bladder stones:
If your dog only has small stones, you might not notice any clinical signs. It's only once bladder stones get big enough to cause a full or partial blockage that symptoms begin to emerge. These are common signs of bladder stones in dogs:
If your dog is experiencing any of the last four symptoms in this list — inability to urinate, vomiting, lethargy, or pain in the lower back — talk to your vet immediately. These could be signs or a urinary obstruction, a complete blockage of your dog's urinary tract that could be life-threatening if left untreated.
When you talk to your vet about your pet's urinary symptoms, they may perform any combination of the following examinations to determine if your pet has bladder stones:
Diagnosis and treatment isn't a linear process for bladder stones. After your dog's initial diagnosis, your vet will likely recommend one of the treatments below. If your dog's treatment involves removing the stones, your DVM may run additional tests to identify the type of stones your dog has, and they may adjust your dog's treatment plan based on the results.
Once your dog is diagnosed, your vet will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Any plan will include treating the underlying cause of your dog's bladder stones as well as the stones themselves. Here are some of the remedies your vet may recommend, as well as when they're most likely to recommend them:
Once your vet removes the stones, they may recommend an ongoing treatment plan, especially if your dog is prone to bladder stones. Ongoing treatment can include medication to treat your dog's underlying condition, a special diet to prevent future stone formation, or increased water consumption to regularly flush out your dog's bladder.
While it can be hard to force your dog to drink more water, you can encourage them by making sure they always have fresh water available, and feeding them wet food instead of dry. You can also soak their dry food in a nutritious bone broth for a few hours before serving.
Dog bladder stones are painful for our pets and can cause accidents in the house, which can be a source of stress for a trained dog (and their owner). But, this condition is treatable with help from your DVM.
Your veterinarian can help you identify the cause of your dog's bladder stone formation, and develop a treatment plan. To help keep your dog's bladder healthy, make sure they drink plenty of water.
You can also try an all-natural bladder supplement for dogs. Made with cranberry for your pet's urine pH, D-mannose to protect against infection, and probiotics to add protective microbes to your pet's symptom, this supplement helps to naturally address the common causes of dog bladder issues.
To learn more about your pet's health and wellness, check out the Native Pet blog.
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