Bladder Stones Holistic Protocol for Dogs and Cats has been developed by a certified Master Herbalist and certified Canine Nutritionist with The Pet Health and Nutrition Center. Our Bladder Stone Protocol is the finest coordination of science and research-based recommendations that include diet, supplementation and herbal remedies to help support your dog or cat with bladder stones. Everyone here at The Pet Health and Nutrition Center truly cares and wants to help your pet get better, so give our suggestions a try because we are confident you will be pleased with the results.
Bladder stones (aka urinary stones, urolith, calculus (plural is calculi)) are a collection of minerals and other materials. The two most common uroliths (about 80%) in dogs and cats are made from struvites and calcium oxalate. Others include ammonium urate (also called urate, purine, uric acid), cystine crystals, calcium phosphate and silica. The specific type of crystal involved can usually be determined by viewing a sample of urine under a microscope, though ultrasound, contrast dye X-rays, and analysis of urinary crystals or stones that were collected or removed are also methods of identification of bladders stones in canines and felines.
Struvite Stones - Struvites contain magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate and are most frequently found in small-breed females. Struvite uroliths almost always form in the bladder when large amounts of crystals are present in combination with a urinary tract infection from urease-producing bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Proteus. Urease is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea, forming ammonia and carbon dioxide. It contributes to struvite stone formation as well as raising urinary pH to as much as 8.0 or 8.5. Keep in mind that between 1 and 2 percent of struvites are called sterile (metabolic struvites) because they do not involve an infection.
The presence of urinary struvite crystals alone does not represent disease and does not require treatment. These crystals can be found in the urine of an estimated 40 to 44 percent of all healthy dogs and are not a cause for concern unless accompanied by signs of a urinary tract infection.
Calcium Oxalate Stones - These stones occur in both the bladder and kidneys of male and female dogs and cats. Most calcium oxalate uroliths are found in the kidneys. Animals most affected are small-breed males that are overweight, under-exercised, neutered, and eating a kibble pet food diet. Dry pet food can contribute to more concentrated urine and small dogs are thought to be more susceptible because they drink less water relative to their size. These stones are radiopaque and most are easily seen on X-rays. Certain prescription drugs contribute to the formation of these uroliths like steroids and certain diuretics.
Urate or Purine Stones - Of the remaining types of stones urate are the most common coming in at about 6 - 8% of all uroliths. Purines that are found in plant and animal tissue are the primary culprit. As dietary purines degrade, they form uric acid, which is best known in human medicine for its connection to gout, a sharply painful form of arthritis that affects joints, and in susceptible dogs trigger the formation of urate stones. These uroliths are radiolucent (can't be seen by X‑rays) so they must be identified by other means. Male Dalmatians are most adversely affected by this type of urolith, but they can form in dogs of any breed and age, most commonly in younger dogs 1 to 4 years of age.
Bladder stones form when minerals precipitate out in urine as microscopic crystals. Under the right conditions these crystals form small grains of sand-like material commonly called urinary calculi. Once grains develop, additional precipitation can lead the crystals to adhere together, creating stones. These larger stones can cause discomfort and possibly interfere with urination.
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