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Bladder Stone Prevention in Dogs

Jul 4, 2008
There are many types of bladder stones that can affect your dog. The most common are calcium, oxalate, struvite and urate. Different medical circumstances contribute to each of these types of canine bladder stones. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to developing certain types of stones in the bladder.

How Canine Bladder Stones Form

All types of bladder stones develop as a result of excess minerals being present in the urine. They begin as crystals that are suspended in the urine. Over time, the concentration of crystals increases. These crystals fall and create "sand" at the bottom of the bladder. Eventually, this sand becomes complete bladder stones.

Treating Canine Bladder Stones

Treatment of bladder stones in dogs depends largely on the type of stone that is present. In most cases, a veterinarian recommends surgery, prescription medication or some form of diet therapy to help your dog. Unfortunately, dogs that have developed bladder stones tend to repeat the process and have to be monitored for future bladder stone development. Prevention is the best treatment available for your beloved pet.

Preventing Bladder Stones

Water is the key step in preventing canine bladder stones. The more water your dog drinks, the more diluted the urine becomes. This means there is less of a concentration of the minerals that form into crystals and stones. Encourage consumption of large amounts of water by placing extra bowls of fresh, cool water all over the house. You may also consider a water fountain designed specifically for pets that provides continuous water flow. Feeding your dog canned food or adding water to your dog's dry food will supply extra liquid in its diet, as well.

Frequent Urination

Another proven method for the prevention of canine bladder stones is encouraging frequent urination. The more your dog urinates, the faster crystals and minerals are removed from the bladder. This decreases the likelihood of developing bladder stones.

Unfortunately, dogs that are trained to hold their urine until their owner returns from work are prime candidates for canine bladder stones. Get someone to walk your dog in the middle of the day. Another option is a doggie door. This allows your dog to come in and out when the need arises and will help maintain a healthy, stone-free bladder.

Proper Diet

It is important for many reasons to be sure you are maintaining a proper diet for your dog. High levels of certain minerals and elements can cause quicker development of some types of canine bladder stones. These include magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and protein.

Treatment of Canine Bladder Infections

Bacteria present in the bladder may cause stones to develop faster than they normally would. If you observe any signs that your pet may be having difficulty urinating, get to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The longer you wait to have your pet's infection treated, the more likely it is that bladder stones will develop. Prevention is as important in the care and health of your pet as it is in your own physical health.

Proper diet and exercise are very important in maintaining the health and welfare of your pet. Canine bladder stones are just as painful and debilitating to your dog as they would be if you had them yourself. Because of their inability to communicate through speech, a pet in pain is often overlooked by its owner. In these cases, the pet suffers needlessly a lot longer than it should. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to be sure your animal is healthy and well cared for. Pay attention and observe them carefully. Chances are that if there is a problem developing, you will see some sort of sign, even if it is a very slight one.
About the Author
Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a board-certified veterinary internist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York and the Univ. of California, Davis. She completed degrees in Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State Univ. Dr. Spector writes for Halo Pets, a maker of natural pet products.
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