We met the gorgeous Fletch a year ago when he began urinating blood. Radiographs revealed the presence of a bladder stone, which was surgically removed. Fletch recovered well at home, maintained on a balanced urinary diet alongside regular urine testing.
Fast forward 12 months and we saw Fletch back for his routine wellness check. As part of his exam, an in-house urinalysis was performed, revealing an abundance of urinary crystals. Once again, radiographs indicated the presence of another bladder stone.
Although showing no clinical signs, Fletch was prepped for surgery and the bladder stone was successfully removed. He was sent home with a course of antibiotics and pain relief as well as a modified diet and long-term medication to assist in keeping his urine acidity at an optimum level – aimed at preventing the development of crystals and stones in the future.
We saw Fletch back for his review some days later and are pleased to report that he is doing well. Fletch’s case is a great example of the importance of regular check-ups – helping to manage and identify underlying issues as they arise. Hats off to Fletch’s family!
Bladder stones (uroliths) are rock-like arrangements of minerals that can occur in the urinary bladder. They may present as a large, single stone or rather a collection of smaller stones. There are multiple factors involved in the formation of bladder stones in dogs:
- Increased or high levels of minerals within the urine, resulting in precipitation of urine crystals which stick together to form a bladder stone.
- Alkaline or acidic urine pH can provide the optimal environment for crystal development.
- Bacterial infections within the bladder can alter the pH of the urine resulting in the development of crystals.
- Abnormal metabolism of various minerals (known breed predispositions e.g. Dalmatians).
The most common signs that a dog has developed bladder stones is blood within the urine (haematuria) and straining to urinate (dysuria). Haematuria occurs as the stones rub against the bladder wall, causing irritation and damage to the tissue, resulting in bleeding. Dysuria may result from inflammation and swelling of the bladder wall or the urethra or physical blockage of urine flow.
Most bladder stones are visible on x-ray or ultrasound of the bladder. Treatment often depends on the type of stones present. Surgical removal is a common treatment option; however, some stones may be flushed out non-surgically or dissolved using a specific diet formulation. Bladder stones can be life threatening. If your pet is having difficulty urinating, or has the presence of blood within their urine, seek immediate veterinary advice.