How To Treat Bladder Stones In your Dog?


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Some of the most striking X-rays you will ever get to see are the ones that reveal the presence of large stones in your dogโ€™s bladder. Till you see one of these X-rays, you might just find your dog a little off-putting. This is not unreasonable, considering the fact that your dog tends to have a lot of accidents in the house and needs to go outside to relieve himself on an hourly basis. However, after you see the X-ray, most of you will just be shocked that your dog was not acting sicker than he did.

What are the tell-tale signs that you need to look out for?

Bladder stones, by their very nature, tend to start out small and can grow in size and number with time. Dogs that have bladder stones typically have one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Urinary accidents
  2. Straining to discharge urine
  3. Frequent attempts to urinate without producing the desired result
  4. Discolored urine
  5. Licking the urinary opening

These signs are also symptomatic of a host of other diseases that tend to affect the urinary tract (tumors or infections, for instance). You need to take your pet to the vet if you notice any of the above symptoms. He will confirm the bladder stones with an ultrasound or an X-ray.

How are they formed and how can they be treated?

Usually, bladder stones are a collection of minerals and a bunch of other materials. Most of them are made of struvite, urate, calcium oxalate or cysteine crystals. In a lot of the cases, it is possible to see the specific type of crystal causing the problem by examining the urine sample under a microscope.If struvite stones are the diagnosis, your vet will treat the underlying cause (for example, antibiotics for a urinary tract infection) and might recommend a specially formulated therapeutic diet such as the Hill's Prescription Diet u/d Urinary Care Canned Dog Food that will aid in dissolving the crystals and stones. You will have to give your dog the antibiotics along with the therapeutic dog food and possibly even longer if needed. Surgery and other procedures like lithotripsy (using ultrasonic waves to break up the stones) might be necessary to get the stones out of the bladder. The diet needed for dissolving the struvite stones must be given under the supervision of the vet. Most of them are formulated with the intention of making the urine more acidic so that the stones can be easily broken down. If the acidification is taken far, it can result in the formation of calcium oxalate stones.

Whatโ€™s the best way to prevent them?

Once the stones have dissolved, diet plays a major role in preventing their recurrence. Pet food manufacturers have specially formulated foods that are meant to deter the formation of calcium oxalate, struvite, cystine and urate crystals. You also need to make sure that your pet gets adequate amounts of water as it is much less likely for the crystals to form in dilute urine.

7 Signs of Bladder Stones in Dogs 

Dogs can get many of the same things humans can get, including bladder stones. They can be just as painful in your dog as they are in you. This is why when you see the following signs you will need to get your furkid to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you see any or all of the following seven symptoms in your dog, get medical help immediately.

  • Accidents with urinating
  • Trying to urinate many times without much urine coming out
  • Trying to force their urine out
  • Different colored or bloody urine
  • Frequent licking around the urinary opening
  • Hardly any appetite
  • Vomiting

How Are Bladder Stones in Dogs Formed?

Bladder stones form from minerals and other materials. Bladder stones in dogs are normally made from urate, calcium oxalate, cystine crystals, or struvite. In most cases, a vet can see what type of crystal it is under a microscope.

How Fast Do Bladder Stones Grow?

Bladder stones in dogs can develop over a period of weeks to months. The speed in which they grow is determined by the quantity of crystallized material that is present in your dog as well as how much infection is inside your dog. However, it could take months for the stones to grow in size. Although this may be the case, a bladder stone can form within two weeks.

What Dog Breeds Are More at Risk?

There is no underlying reason or cause as to why some dog breeds get bladder stones while others don't. The dog breeds most susceptible to getting bladder stones includes:

  • Beagle
  • Bulldog
  • Basset Hound
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • Dachshund
  • Pug
  • Pekinese
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Welsh Corgi

One thing you need to keep in mind is that some dogs don't even show any signs of bladder stones. When this happens, if your dog is suffering from bladder stones and you don't know it yet, the vert will find out when you take him or her in for their physical.

Treatment for Bladder Stones in Dogs

Antibiotics and Therapeutic Dog Food

If your vet determines that struvite is the type of bladder stone, he or she will prescribe antibiotics for your dog. They will also recommend therapeutic dog food for your dog to eat. You can even put the antibiotics in the dog food so they will take them easier. As long as your dog is supposed to eat the specific dog food, they will have to take antibiotics, maybe even longer if the vet says they need them. Treating bladder stones with Ursodiol is also often prescribed by vets.

Therapeutic dog food is what is needed to dissolve the stones. However, it will be needed to be given to your dog under a vet's supervision. The reason for this is because it is made to create more acidic urine in your dog than they would usually produce to break down the stones in his or her bladder. However, if urinary acidification is taken too far, then calcium oxalates can form.

Surgery and Other Procedures

Surgery might be needed to get the stones out. Another procedure that might be needed is lithotripsy. Lithotripsy is a procedure that breaks up the stones with ultrasonic shock waves. This will be necessary to get the stones all the way out of your dog's bladder.

Signs of Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones in dogs can start out small but increase in size over time. Here are seven signs of bladder stones in dogs.

Preventing Bladder Stones in Dogs

Once the bladder stones are totally gone in your dog, his or her diet will ensure that they don't return. The makers of the dog food create special dog food that prevents the formation of calcium oxalate, struvite, cystine crystals, and urate. You should also encourage your dog to drink enough water because it will prevent stones from forming in the diluted urine. Because of this, your vet will most likely recommend the canned version of the special dog food instead of dry food.

Since the special diet your dog needs to treat and prevent future bladder stones is most likely needed for the long-term, the diet needs to be nutritionally balanced. This is why your pet is the best one to recommend a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog's health.

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