Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones are relatively common in dogs but can be life-threatening if left untreated. Here, our Rock Hill vets explain what they are and how to get rid of bladder stones in dogs.

What causes bladder stones in dogs?

Bladder stones are also sometimes called cystic calculi or uroliths. These minerals often develop into rock-like formations in a dog’s urinary bladder.

They may either be a buildup of multiple small stones or a single larger stone, from the size of a grain of sand to a piece of gravel. Both small and large stones may be present and create an obstruction.

It is believed that bladder stones are caused by elevated levels of crystals in the urine, possibly caused by diet or a previous bacterial bladder infection. As the crystals form, they irritate the bladder lining, causing the production of excess mucus. The mucus and crystals then bind together gradually forming stones.

What are the signs of bladder stones in dogs?

If your dog is suffering from bladder stones, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dysuria (straining to urinate)
  • Hematuria (blood in urine)

Stones can rub against the wall of the bladder, which causes irritation, tissue damage, and bleeding. If the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) or bladder wall is swollen or inflamed, this may result in urine flow becoming physically obstructed, or muscle spasms. This can lead to dysuria.

How are dog bladder stones diagnosed?

While symptoms of bladder stones are similar to those of cystitis or uncomplicated bladder infection, the two are different - most dogs who have bladder stones do not have a bladder infection. Therefore, your vet may need to do more investigation before a diagnosis can be confirmed.

In some cases, the stones will be too small to be felt with the fingers by palpating them through the bladder wall, or the bladder may be too inflamed. Other options include X-rays, ultrasound, or a radiographic contrast study.

What dissolves bladder stones in dogs?

So, you're convinced your dog has bladder stones, but how do you get rid of bladder stones in dogs?

Once your vet has provided you with a definitive diagnosis, they will also run through the best treatment options for your dog. Your dog's treatment may include:

  • Surgical removal
  • Non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion
  • Prescription diet and antibiotics

If left untreated, these stones will become increasingly painful for your dog and obstruct the neck of the bladder or urethra, resulting in your dog being unable to fully empty their bladder and only producing small squirts of urine.

Complete obstructions can lead to urine being fully blocked. If the obstruction is not relieved, this can cause a potentially life-threatening condition and lead to a ruptured bladder. This would be classified as a veterinary medical emergency, which would need your veterinarian's immediate attention.

What is the prognosis for dogs with bladder stones?

The prognosis is usually good after bladder stones have been eliminated. Your vet should take preventive measures to help keep the stones from recurring.

Your dog should see your primary care veterinarian regularly (every few months) for x-rays or ultrasounds to determine whether stones are returning. If the stones are small enough in size, the vet may use nonsurgical hydropulsion to remove them.

If your dog is having difficulty urinating, our veterinarians can help. We are experienced in diagnosing and effectively treating many conditions and illnesses.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think that your pup could be suffering from painful bladder stones? Our emergency vets at Carolina Veterinary Specialists are available 24/7 to help. Contact our Rock Hill right away, whenever your dog needs emergency care.

Vet Care for Rock Hill Pets

Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Rock Hill, accepts new patients to our specialty services by referral only. Our emergency/urgent care service welcomes all patients.

Contact Us

(803) 909-8300 Contact