Urinary Calculi in Dogs

by Naomi Millburn
Regular visits with the vet are essential for all canines.

Regular visits with the vet are essential for all canines.

Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you've ever heard of bladder stones in dogs, then you've heard of urinary calculi, or urolithiasis. If "stone" masses appear in a canine's urinary tract, then he has urinary calculi. These masses can appear in any part of an animal's urinary system, although they typically show up in the bladder.

Root Causes

When urine crystals merge together and produce stones, they can bring upon a lot of unpleasant effects, including infection. Urinary calculi have a handful of potential different causes. For some dogs, the condition is a genetic one. For others, it can arise due to prior bacterial infection. Urine alkalinity can also trigger the development of stones, as can medicines that raise calcium levels in the urine.

Common Symptoms

If your pooch has urinary calculi, it might be apparent to you through the emergence of several key symptoms. Your pet might have to urinate a lot more than normal, while giving off much smaller amounts of the stuff. It might seem difficult for him to pass urine, and you might even observe a little bit of blood in it. With time, symptoms often get more severe, sometimes even leading to complete failure to urinate. Dogs also occasionally experience other symptoms such as appetite loss, exhaustion and hesitation regarding exercise. It also isn't unheard of for dogs to have urinary calculi while seeming symptom-free.

Veterinary Management

If you're concerned that your sweet pet might have urinary calculi, prompt veterinary attention is vital. If you disregard the symptoms, the stones could cause your pet discomfort and pain -- no, thanks. They can also cause perfectly housebroken pets to have messy indoor potty mishaps, so take note. In some cases, ignored urinary calculi can even be fatal. Veterinarians often determine the presence of urinary calculi via X-rays of the stomach. Some common management options for the condition include stone extraction via surgery and changes in diet. If your pet has urinary calculi, a veterinarian can put together a management plan that is appropriate for his needs.

No to Breeding

Since these stones can have a genetic component, it's sometimes recommended that people abstain from allowing animals who have experienced them to reproduce. It also is recommended that people not allow these animals' kin -- parents or littermates -- to breed, either.

Photo Credits

  • Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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