Stones : in the garden , not in the dog!

Two weeks ago , a client brings in his miniature schnauzer to the clinic. She had seen blood in his urine. Only once . Nothing else seemed abnormal . The veterinarian on duty that day made a good physical examination and could not find anything special. An X-ray of the abdomen was conducted and it revealed the presence of a dozen stones in the bladder . The size of stones varied from 2 to 5 mm in diameter. A urinalysis confirmed the infection, but that still did not explain the origin of these rocks.

Bladder stones

Bladder stones

I operated the pooch a week later. You could tell that the dog felt much better almost immediately. I removed 17 stones with edges so sharp that they had seriously injured his bladder . As strange as it may seem, it was then clear that the stones had been in the bladder for some time . First because of the number of stones collected and secondly because of the overall appearance of the bladder : swollen and very red . But despite all that the dog had never complained in the past and only the presence of blood in his urine had put doubt in the mind of the owner .

We sent the calculs(stones) at a specialized laboratory to determine what they were. With these results, we were now able to establish an adequate therapeutic and preventive plan.

But how is it that a dog can make stones in it’s bladder ? There is no easy way to answer that question . First, we need to think about the breed. Indeed, some breeds are more likely to make bladder stones than others. In my practice, the number one race is by far the miniature schnauzer . Even one of my schnauzers has already been afflicted by stones … So it seems to be a genetic chain, at least for some lines . However , all breeds can likely develop them .

Apart from the breed , un-diagnosed urinary tract infections and therefore untreated , promote the formation of bladder stones . If you ever notice that your dog urinates more often than normal , contact your veterinarian promptly. It will relieve your pet quickly without having to go into surgery.

Another factor which appears to play an important role in this disease is diet . In the veterinary field , some diets are known to be more calculogéniques ( likely more responsable for stones in the bladder ) than others. The general rule is not to skimp on the quality and therefore the price of the food you give your dog . Avoid foods without names whose origins are unknown. The American College of Veterinary Nutrition has an excellent website , unfortunately only in English , packed with extra information on the variety of healthy animal food. This organization is completely independent from the pressures of the industry (dog food companies) and therefore can be viewed with confidence.

Your veterinarian can also inform you properly . They are all pet owners like you . Ask them what they feed their pets.

Another thing that helps prevent the formation of bladder stones is to stimulate your dog to drink as much as possible . Give him fresh water and change it often . Add a little water to the kibble. From time to time , give him some wet food (canned) to which you can add a little water.

If your dog ever suffers from urinary stones , surgery is not necessarily the only solution. Roughly speaking, two kinds of stones are more frequently encountered in dogs and cats. Struvite and oxalate . In certain situations , it is possible to dissolve struvite , through specialized food. Unfortunately, dogs that have oxalate stones in the bladder must be operated because oxalate stones are impossible to dissolve .

After the cystotomy ( the surgery that involves removing a bladder stone ), it is important to follow a rigorous program of preventive medicine , which will be customized for your pet depending on the type of stones extracted . Dietary changes, physical examinations, x-rays and periodic urine analysis are in order. If no changes are seen from such programs , a repeat occurrence is almost at a 100 % rate.

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