Dog Bladder Stones in Golden Retvievers : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dog Bladder Stones in Golden Retvievers.Dog Bladder Stones in Golden Retvievers.

Dog bladder stones can be very painful for your golden retriever dog, but fortunately they can be treated successfully. They seem to affect some breeds more than others.

Golden Retrievers aren’t commonly afflicted, but they aren’t immune, either. Female dogs are more prone to this condition than male dogs. And smaller dogs get them more often than the larger breeds.

Dog breeds at especially high risk include the following:

Miniature Schnauzer, Lhasa Apso, Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, and Dalmatian.

Dog bladder stones may be anywhere from mild to serious. They usually occur in dogs from four to twelve years of age. They’re much more common than kidney stones. (Yep, dogs can get those, too!).

What Are Dog Bladder Stones?

What Are Dog Bladder Stones?Canine bladder stones are stone-like mineral deposits that can actually form anywhere between the kidneys and the urethra. They occur most commonly in the bladder.

Dog Bladder Stones may occur as a single deposit, or consist of many smaller pieces. They can be large and take up most of the bladder, or be fine particles that are passed when the dog urinates (or both).

A canine bladder stone forms in much the same way that a pearl is made inside an oyster. That is, a growth of crystals forms around a core. Microscopic mineral crystals are commonly present in urine.

Most of the time, these crystals are harmlessly flushed out with urination. The problem occurs when the crystals attach themselves to each other. This process forms stones that can be several millimeters in diameter (or even larger).

There are several different types of dog bladder stones, with different chemical components. Bladder stones in golden retriever dogs can form in as little as a few weeks, though the problem usually develops over several months.

What Causes Dog Bladder Stones?

Depending on the type of stone formed, there may be several possible causes:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Cushing’s disease.
  • Elevated blood calcium level.
  • Bacterial infection of the bladder(cystitis).
  • pH level of the urine (too acid or alkaline).
  • Cancer.
  • Kidney defect.
  • Liver disease.
  • Diet (wrong mineral and protein content for this particular dog).
  • Various medications (including Lasix, cortisone, sulfa, and tetracycline).

Symptoms of Dog Bladder Stones.

Symptoms of Dog Bladder Stones.Amazingly, some dogs have no outward symptoms at all!.

The veterinarian only discovers the stones by feeling them in the bladder during a routine check-up.

Fortunately, most dogs give us a clue through these common symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Frequent urination.
  • Straining to urinate (dysuria).
  • Painful urination.
  • General weakness or lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dark-colored urine, even if there’s no blood in it.

 Diagnosing Dog Bladder Stones

A correct diagnosis is important in order to determine the best course of action. Here’s what your veterinarian will probably do:

  • Bladder palpation (feeling with the fingers) is the first test, since many of these stones are large enough to be felt by experienced fingers.
  • Urinalysis to see if there are any microscopic pieces of stone in the urine. The mineral content of the urine will also tell the vet what kind of stone is involved.
  • Urine culture to check for bacteria in the urine, which might indicate aurinary tract infection instead of (or in addition to) dog bladder stones.
  • Sensitivity test to determine which antibiotics would be most effective to dissolve the stones and/or kill any bacteria present.
  • X-ray to look for stones.
  • Ultrasound to find the stones that can’t be seen with an x-ray.

Treatment For Dog Bladder Stones.

Treatment For Dog Bladder Stones.Some stones can be dissolved with special diets, while others require surgical removal.

Stones that make their way from the bladder to the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body) are called urethral stones.

If the stones get lodged in the urethra, immediate surgery is the only way to clear the path again. Otherwise, the dog would probably die from kidney failure or a ruptured bladder.

Catheterization may be used if the stone is small enough. That’s when a long tube is inserted into the dog’s urinary tract and bladder to suck out both the stone and the urine (in case there are tiny stones in the urine).

If the stones are too big to be removed with the catheter, surgery may be required. Any surgery carries some risk, but this type of surgery is comparatively simple and recovery time is remarkably quick.

After dog bladder stones are detected and removed, screening for Cushing’s disease or any medical condition that causes an elevated calcium level is generally part of the follow-up medical work.

If any such problems are uncovered, they’ll need to be treated to avoid the recurrence of stones.

Prevent the Recurrence of Dog Bladder Stones.

Prevent the Recurrence of Dog Bladder Stones.It’s much better to stop new dog bladder stones before they recur, because repeated operations do damage to the bladder, not to mention the pocketbook.

Preventive medicine may be as simple as a special diet, depending on the type of stone. It’s also important to provide your Golden Retriever with lots of fresh water daily, and let him out to potty frequently. If urine isn’t allowed to spend time in the bladder, crystals have less time to form into stones.

Your veterinarian may also recommend a urinalysis twice a year in order to detect a recurrence before it gets out of hand.

When you really think about it, dog bladder stones are simple health concerns with simple solutions. Regular vet check-ups and staying in tune with your golden retriever dog’s habits and behavior will help you catch problems at an early stage.

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