Kidney Stones in Dogs

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Kidney stones are not very common in dogs. However, bladder stones (urinary calculi is the medical term) are seen quite frequently. This condition is known as urolithiasis and differs considerably in its symptoms compared to human urinary stones.

In dogs, the predominant symptoms are frequent efforts to urinate, straining, and even passing blood or clots of blood. Some dogs stay in the urinating position longer than usual. Others wet in the house producing puddles of urine in several locations. The pain is usually minimal unless the stone is lodged in the urethra and unable to be passed. This is very common in male dogs since they have a bone in the penis with a narrow opening. These patients often have a stone blocking the passage of urine resulting in little or no urination that quickly leads to acute pain, tender abdomen, distress, and kidney failure.

Many stones are round and pea sized or smaller, but I have seen some the size of walnuts or the shape of jacks. Since they are often the result of a bladder infection, proper treatment with antibiotics is essential in preventing stones in dogs with cystitis.

Urolithiasis is more common in female dogs, and I see it often in Schnauzers, Poodles, and other small breeds. Prompt treatment is essential, since total obstruction can be fatal in a matter of a couple of days. Before the underlying infection can be cured, surgery is usually required to remove the stones from the bladder. To help prevent recurrence, feed the prescribed diet, encourage drinking plenty of water, and have the urine checked on a regular basis (twice a year).

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