Everything You Need to Know About Kidney Stones in Dogs

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Everything You Need to Know About Kidney Stones in Dogs

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Kidney stones or nephroliths or uroliths are formations of crystals in the kidneys due to excess concentration of mineral salts present in the urine. The stones can form in the urethra or the bladder of dogs. All dogs are prone to developing kidney stones. Certain breeds such as Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Poodles, Dalmatians, and Yorkshire Terriers, to name a few, are more vulnerable than others. It can be extremely painful and often leads to urinary tract inflammation, tissue damage, urinary tract obstruction and infection.Kidney stones or nephroliths or uroliths are formations of crystals in the kidneys due to excess concentration of mineral salts present in the urine. The stones can form in the urethra or the bladder of dogs. All dogs are prone to developing kidney stones. Certain breeds such as Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Poodles, Dalmatians, and Yorkshire Terriers, to name a few, are more vulnerable than others. It can be extremely painful and often leads to urinary tract inflammation, tissue damage, urinary tract obstruction and infection.

Causes

Kidney stones are caused due to the following reasons:

  • Dehydration
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Long use of diuretics
  • Increased mineral concentration in urine
  • Urinary tract infection pH changes
  • Urine pH alteration • An increase in water reabsorption by kidneys
Symptoms of kidney stones

The symptoms of kidney stones are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination in small amounts
  • Hard to urinate
  • Licking of genitals
  • Pain while urinating
  • Urinary tract infection recurs

If your dog exhibits the above symptoms, take it to the vet immediately.

Types

The formation of bladder stones is due to precipitation of mineral salts and can have a diameter of three to four inches. The type of kidney stone depends on the salt forming the crystal, although there are chances of the crystal containing more than one type of salt. Kidney stones are usually made up of the following minerals.

  • Calcium oxalate
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Cystine
  • Struvite or Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate
  • Uric acid
Treatment

The type of treatment depends on the location, type, and size of the kidney stones. The following treatments are suggested by veterinarians:

  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)It is a non-invasive method for removing kidney stones from the dog’s body. High-intensity sound waves are used to break up the stones into small pieces, making it easy to get flushed from the urinary tract.
  • Dietary adjustmentIf there is a low risk of urinary tract obstruction, the vet will prescribe a specialized diet to bring the urine pH down to normal levels or to increase thirst. These diets are low in magnesium, phosphorous, and protein. Within 12 weeks, the stones will dissolve as a result of this diet.
  • MedicationsThe vet will prescribe medications or supplements to make the urine acidic, which will help in dissolving the stones. The vet may prescribe medications to increase the intake of water. It is done to dilute the mineral salts present in the urine. As there are chances of your dog developing urinary tract infection, the vet will prescribe antibiotics.
  • UrohydropropulsionWhen there is a high chance of the urinary tract getting obstructed due to small kidney stones, the vet performs urohydropropulsion. The vet will administer anesthesia and pass a urinary catheter through the dog’s urethra. The stones are washed out with saline solution.
  • SurgeryIf the stones are too big and cannot be removed through urohydropropulsion, the vet will recommend a surgery.
Recovery

After the treatment for kidney stones is successful, follow-up appointments will have to be made every four to six weeks for abdominal x-rays and urinalysis to ensure the stones are not forming again. The vet will suggest a

specialized diet

once the stones have dissolved. As kidney stones can reoccur at any time, dogs have to be monitored on a regular basis.

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