Bladder stones typically form when the urine becomes super saturated with crystals (usually magnesium, ammoniums, and phosphate) that clump together and form a stone. Especially in dogs, an underlining bladder infection is usually present which encourages stone formation from the crystals.

A common mistake veterinarians and pet parents make is to assume that simply because a pet has crystals in their urine, that it is abnormal and will cause a stone. While this is often the case, many pets with stones do not have crystals in their urine in a urinalysis, nor do crystals in the urine necessarily indicate any specific disease.

Bladder Stones

This radiograph is from a dog with urinary issues. A number of small bladder stones are seen in the bladder. Along with bladder tumors and bladder infections, bladder stones occur in dogs and cats and cause the following clinical signs: difficulty urinating, painful urination, blood in the urine, straining to urine, frequent urination, and sometimes pets with bladder disease have no clinical signs. Treatment involves trying to dissolve the stones with a special diet & supplements, antibiotics (stones are often caused by a bladder infection,) or surgery. The underlining factors that have allowed the stones to form need to be identified and corrected. As in this case, stones are more likely to form in breeds (smaller breeds of dogs) and in dogs with diabetes and Cushing’s disease (which this dog has.)

Think your pet might have bladder stones?

If not already done, your pet may need the following tests to complete his/her bladder evaluation:

  • Chest/Abdominal Radiographs (X-rays) – These are done to evaluate the presence of bladder disease in your pet’s body.
  • Abdominal ultrasound– This looks for bladder issues that might not be seen on a conventional radiograph (X-rays).
  • Blood Profile/ Urinalysis – These tests are done to see if another disease is present which might be affecting your pet’s bladder disease, or to see if organ damage has already occurred from your pet’s bladder disease. Also, these tests measure levels of inflammatory markers which will be used to monitor your pet’s treatment.
  • Urine Culture- This test is done to determine if specific microorganisms are causing your pet’s bladder disease and to assist in treatment.
  • Fecal Analysis – Various tests are done on your pet’s feces to help determine the presence of parasites which can impact your pet’s bladder treatment. These can include a microscopic fecal analysis looking for parasites, bacteria, and yeasts; Giardia, a parasite easily transmissible to people; and a fecal culture or PCR Test looking for DNA of specific microorganisms.  

Give us a call at 972-867-8800 ext 1 to schedule your pet’s consultation today!