Bladder Stones In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 23: x-ray image of a stone in the urinary bladder of a dog on February 23, 2011 in Munich, Germany.

(Picture Credit: Agency-Animal-Picture/Getty Images)

Bladder stones in dogs are rock-like formations that form in the bladder, which can lead to a host of issues like chronic urinary tract infections, pain, and other bladder issues. These mineral buildups, which vary in size, are also known as uroliths or cystic calculi.

Dogs get bladder stones for a variety of reasons, and often, they are able to pass them without any medical intervention. In fact, you might not even notice if your dog has a bladder stone.

Still, some bladder stones can be larger and cause issues for your pup. One of the most common signs that your dog may be suffering from bladder stones is cloudy or blood-tinged urine.

Fortunately, most bladder stones and accompanying infections are easy to treat with the right round of antibiotics or other medication, as prescribed by your vet.

If you see signs of a bladder stone in your dog, contact your veterinarian right away. Tell them of any and all other symptoms you see in your dog. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for bladder stones in dogs.

Symptoms Of Bladder Stones In Dogs

Symptoms of bladder stones in dogs can vary in severity. Depending on the size of the stone, you–and your dog–might not even notice that they have passed one.

However, there are signs and symptoms that moderate-to-severe bladder stones can cause in dogs. The most obvious symptom is dark, cloudy, and blood-tinged urine.

Your dog might also appear to strain to urinate, as a larger bladder stone can cause a urethral blockage.

Here are some of the symptoms that might appear in dogs who suffer from bladder stones:

  • Discolored or bloody urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Unsuccessful attempts to urinate
  • Accidents
  • Licking/Scratching around the urinary opening

Causes Of Bladder Stones In Dogs

Sick puppy

(Picture Credit: AleksandarNakic/Getty Images)

When it comes to narrowing down the cause of bladder stones in dogs, there isn’t normally a concrete answer.

Many vets and researchers rely on the Precipitation-Crystallization Theory, which says stones form when one or more stone-creating minerals and compounds are at higher levels than normal in the urine. The imbalance causes the compounds to crystallize into small forms, which can then irritate the dog’s bladder.

This could be for a wide swath of reasons, including a bacterial infection, metabolism issues, or even dietary factors.

While bladder stones themselves are not contagious, some of the infections that could potentially create a bladder stone can be.

More often than not, male dogs are affected by bladder stones, as female dogs have shorter and wider urethras, making it easier for them to pass bladder stones.

Treatments For Bladder Stones In Dogs

Even though vets can’t always diagnose the causes of bladder stones in dogs, the good news is that they’re fairly treatable.

If your vet determines that a bacterial infection is the cause of the bladder stones, they will prescribe your dog the proper antibiotics. You may want to see if you can can fill out your vet’s prescription online at Chewy’s pharmacy and have the meds delivered to your door.

For moderate-to-severe cases, vets may suggest urohydropropulsion, a nonsurgical procedure that flushes out bladder stones small enough to pass through the urethra. If the bladder stone is severe enough or causing other infections, your vet may suggest surgically removing the mineral deposit.

Always follow your vet’s instructions for care closely.

Has your dog ever had a bladder stone? What did you do to treat it? Let us know in the comments below!

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