Bladder stones are a health concern for many pet owners. In our pets bladder stone formation is far more common than kidney stone formation. Bladder stones are formed when excess minerals or other waste products deposit and crystallize in the bladder. These stones can cause issues when they attempt to travel from the bladder through the urethra. Some bladder stones can be dissolved with specially formulated veterinary diets. Other stones do not respond to the diet formulations.
If there is no response when treated medically or dietetically the stones may need to be physically removed. Abdominal surgery can be performed for bladder stone removal. This method is referred to as a cystotomy. Stones can also be removed through cystoscopically guided procedures such as laser lithotripsy. These procedures are minimally invasive and are an option for many of our pets. With cystoscopy recovery time is minimized and a long hospital stay is unnecessary.
Many patients with bladder stones have recurrent stone formation. Specifically formulated diets and medications can help to prevent stone formation. After bladder stone removal, the removed bladder stones should be sent in for analysis. Once the stone’s make-up is determined, proper dietary and medical plans can be developed to prevent stone reformation.
Bladder stone disease can be frustrating. But there are minimally-invasive options available for our pets. Additionally, with a long-term care plan we can hope to avoid future urinary health problems.