Bladder Stones are naturally occurring minerals that clump together to form tiny crystals that can develop in any part of the urinary tract system. They may be large or small and can develop individually or in groups that may pass spontaneously into the urethra or obstruct the lower urinary tract. In the ideal situation, the stones are detected and removed before a physical blockage occurs. A blockage of the urinary tract is a serious condition that can lead to rupturing of the bladder.
A blockage of the urinary track obstruction is a serious condition. Stones in the bladder can cause very painful urination and blood in the urine. All dogs can develop this condition, however certain breeds such as Dalmatians, Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Miniature Schnauzers are more prone to bladder stones.
There are several types of bladder stones including struvites, which are composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. Struvites form in urine with a high alkalinity (high pH) and are usually caused by a bladder infection, which must be treated in order for the stones to dissolve. Other stones are made up of any one, or a combination of compounds, including calcium, oxalate, calcium phosphate, crystine, and ammonium urate.
A dog with bladder stones may exhibit no symptoms or may exhibit any, or all, of the following:
• increased urination
• painful urination
• burning during urination
• expressive licking of genitals
• blood in urine
• frequent urination
Dietary changes may help prevent struvite bladder stones, however it is imperative you speak to your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. Diets for dogs with struvite stones contain reduced amounts of high-quality proteins to reduce urea in the urine and reduce levels of phosphorus and magnesium levels to reduce the concentration of these minerals in alkaline urine. These diets contain near normal levels of minerals such as magnesium, which may increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones developing. The addition of extra salt in the diet may increase urination, which will reduce the length of time crystals have to form and remain in the bladder.