Are bladder stones in dogs life threatening? Surprising Answer

What are the clinical signs of bladder stones?

The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria (blood in the urine) and dysuria (straining to urinate). Hematuria occurs because the stones rub against the bladder wall, irritating and damaging the tissue and causing bleeding. Dysuria may result from inflammation and swelling of the bladder wall or the urethra (the tube that transports the urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body), from muscle spasms, or from a physical obstruction of urine flow. Veterinarians assume that the condition is painful, because people with bladder stones experience pain, and because many clients remark about how much better and more active their dog becomes following surgical removal of bladder stones.

Large stones may act almost like a valve or stopcock, causing an intermittent or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder, the point where the bladder attaches to the urethra. Small stones may flow with the urine into the urethra where they can become lodged and cause an obstruction. If an obstruction occurs, the bladder cannot be emptied fully; if the obstruction is complete, the dog will not be able to urinate at all. If the obstruction is not relieved, the bladder may rupture.

A complete obstruction is potentially life threatening and requires immediate emergency treatment. A urinary obstruction will usually be recognized in a dog that is straining to urinate without producing any urine, or is only producing small squirts of urine.

A pet can have several stones that range in size, but even just a single stone can cause pain and potentially be life-threatening. This is why, if you suspect your pet has bladder stones, please let us know immediately.

Bladder stones can become life-threatening quickly. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in the outcome and recovery of a pet with bladder stones.

Some pets don’t show any obvious signs of bladder stones, and some of the signs may be the same as those of other, possibly related, conditions, such as a urinary tract infection.

If your pet is straining to urinate and nothing (or only a dribble) comes out, call us right away! It could mean that a bladder stone is blocking the urethra. This situation can cause the bladder to rupture and requires immediate veterinary attention.

To complicate matters, there are several kinds of bladder stones, depending on what type of minerals are involved. The most common bladder stones in both cats and dogs are struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate), calcium oxalate, and urate. Some stones are made up of more than one type of mineral, potentially making diagnosis and treatment trickier.

Find food that fits your pet’s needs

Bladder stones form when minerals in urine clump together into a mineralized mass — veterinarians call this a urolith. In dogs, the two most common types of bladder stones in dogs are struvite stones and calcium oxalate stones. Read on to learn must-know information about these stones and about bladder stones in dogs more generally.

Does your dog have a bladder stone? Dog Bladder Stones symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.