The list of issues that can occur with dogs is quite extensive but one health problem that is often overlooked is the presence of bladder stones. In fact, many dog owners get irritated with their animals because of the symptoms of bladder stones, which may lead to frequent accidents indoors. Additional symptoms include discolored urine, straining while urinating, licking in the area of the groin and attempting to urinate without producing sufficient urine.
There are many different minerals in the bladder that are typically passed when the dog urinates. Sometimes, those minerals are not passed properly and as a result, the minerals can crystallize and eventually form stones. Those stones continue to grow over time. Depending on the type of stones and the minerals present, there may be a number of different options available for treatment. A veterinarian can do some test to make the determination as to which treatment is best for the dog.
Sometimes, there is a genetic connection that causes the dog to be more likely to produce stones than other dogs. They may have a higher level of certain minerals within their urine that could lead to crystallization. Another issue that may be an underlying cause for the development of bladder stones is a pH imbalance. Depending upon the type of stone, this may be an issue that is looked into and can sometimes be corrected by dietary modification. Bacterial infections are another common issue that can lead to bladder stone production.
There are many different options available for treating bladder stones in dogs. Those options may vary from one dog to another and should be discussed with a veterinarian. One common way to remove the stones is through a surgical procedure known as a cystotomy. This procedure is done under anesthesia and the bladder is accessed through an incision in the abdominal wall. Another treatment option is to insert a urinary catheter and fill the bladder with a sterile saline solution. The bladder is then compressed manually, forcing the solution out and the stones along with it. If the stone is stuck in the urethra or ureter, it could cause the kidney to shut down. In this case, the stone is back washed into the bladder prior to surgery.
Sometimes, it may be possible to treat the problem with antibiotics. This can help to clear up the problem with recurring urinary tract infections that could lead to the stone buildup. If a pH imbalance exists, alteration of the diet for up to six months may help to reduce the problem and eliminate the stones naturally.
One other option that is never a bad idea is to increase the amount of water that the dog is drinking. This can be done by switching to a wet dog food or by adding water to the dry dog food they are already eating. It can help to dilute the minerals in the urine. There may be a problem with increased urinary output, but it can help to clear up the problem with stones in some cases.