Stones and frequent urinary tract infections can be a real problem!
on June 22, 2016
Posted in General
Precious is a cute fluffy Bichon Frise who has been having some problems lately. She has been presented to the veterinary hospital for frequent urinary tract infections. Antibiotics seem to clear it up temporarily but after a few weeks it comes right back.
Now Precious has back pain and frequent urination with blood. When her veterinarian recommended radiographs (x-rays) her pet parents were surprised to find that her bladder was full of stones. These stones were making Precious quite uncomfortable.
Bladder stones, also known as uroliths, are fairly common in dogs. They generally occur in dogs aged 4 to 6 and can have a number of causes. These stones can be caused by chronic infections, metabolic problems or an inherited tendency toward formation of stones. Diet can play a role in stone formation as well.
In general, there are 2 types of stones that commonly form. Struvite stones are commonly caused by infections and are often found in female dogs of small breeds. These stones are composed of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate and can be prevented by preventing urinary tract infections.
If urinary tract infections are not eliminated, stones can be the result. Some patients with bladder stones show no symptoms of any kind and the stones are discovered incidentally. However most patients show signs similar to those found with Precious– bloody urine, recurrent bladder infections, or straining to urinate. Fortunately, struvite stones are radio-opaque, which means they show up readily on radiographs (x-rays).
Occasionally stones are simply passed. If this occurs, it is important to have radiographs taken to check to see if there are more stones. If possible, a stone should be sent in for analysis to determine for certain the stone type. This type of stone can be dissolved by special diets and are preventable.
Male dogs aged 5 to 12 years more commonly get calcium oxalate stones. Miniature schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire terriers, Miniature poodles, and Shih tzus are more prone to calcium oxalate stones. These stones are not necessarily visible on radiographs and the most common treatment is surgery, although there are some herbs which can be helpful in dissolution of even these stones.
Other than surgery, common conventional treatments include hydropropulsion (stones are flushed out with saline), and dissolution with diet. The newest conventional treatment for bladder stones is called lithotripsy. It is available at many universities and some specialty veterinary hospitals. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The patient is anesthetized and a cystoscope is passed through the urethra into the bladder.
When a stone is encountered, it is broken up with the laser beam or by extracorpeal shock wave. Lithotripsy is highly successful, and less invasive than surgery. It is however more expensive than conventional surgery.
Holistic options, which may be more aimed at prevention, can include herbal treatments for dissolution.
There are herbal formulas like Urinary Gold from Pet Wellbeing that can be helpful to dissolve these stones. Urinary Gold is soothing for the bladder and can be used as a natural urinary antiseptic for both cats and dogs.
Urinary Gold for Canine Urinary Tract Health
Help to naturally support a healthy urinary tract and normal pH in the bladder.
- Support for a healthy urinary tract
- Helps to maintain normal and comfortable flow of urine
- Supports normal pH in the bladder (normal acidity)
- Helps maintain immunity in the kidney and bladder (ie: normal immune response to bacteria)
- Helps with normal frequency of urination
Order Urinary Gold today and help your dog maintain comfort and health of the urinary tract click here
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan