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Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats Education and Suggestions

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.

1). What are Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats?

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.

Types of Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats

  • 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.

  • Cystine Stones - Cystine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is normally filtered by the kidneys so that it doesn’t enter the urine. However, certain dogs are born wit an inherited metabolic disorder, called cystinuria, that prevents this filtering action. When cystine passes into the urine, it can form crystals. Cystine stones are rare, representing 1 percent or less of uroliths, and although any breed can develop cystinuria, certain breeds are most affected. An estimated 10 percent of male Mastiffs have cystinuria. It is also common in Newfoundlands, English Bulldogs, Scottish Deerhounds, Dachshunds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Chihuahuas. Because cystine stones are faintly radiopaque they are more difficult to see on standard X-rays.
  • Calcium Phosphate - These stones often develop when the urine is over-alkalized (at a pH greater than 7.5), in an effort to prevent the formation of calcium oxalate, urate, or cystine stones. They can be found in dogs of all ages with the average age of onset being 7 to 8 years. Calcium phosphate stones can easily be seen on X-rays. These uroliths are rare, being associated with metabolic disorders such as hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), hypercalcemia and renal tubular acidosis, or excessive calcium and phosphorus in the diet.
  • Silica - These uroliths are most common in male German Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. More than 95 percent of silica stones occur in males. Most silica stones occur in dogs aged 6 to 9 years and can be seen on X-rays. No relationship has been found between urinary pH and silicate urolith formation. The formation of silica stones is associated with diets containing excessive levels of cereal grains that are high in silicates, like corn gluten and soy bean hulls, both common ingredients in low-quality prescription diets and dog foods.

2). Causes and Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats

Causes of Bladder Stones in Dogs and Cats

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.

References

Bladder stones. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bladder-stones/symptoms-causes/syc-20354339

Vinita MD, M. December 1, 2012). Kidney stones: biochemical evaluation of risk factors. Retrieved from http://www.ivghospitals.com/specialty-services/symptoms-of-degenerative-myleopathy/

Coates DVM, J. Bladder stones in dogs: what are signs and how best to treat them. Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/bladder-stones-in-dogs-what-are-the-signs-treament

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Messonnier, S. (2001). Natural health bible for dogs & cats: You’re a-z guide to over 200 conditions, herbs, vitamins and supplements. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Murray, M. T., & Pizzorno, J. E. (1998). Encyclopedia of natural medicine (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Puotinen, CJ. (2000). The encyclopedia of natural pet care (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Keats Publishing.

Tilford, G. L., & Wulff, M. L. (2009). Herbs for pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life. (2nd ed.). Irvine, CA: BowTie Press.

Thibodeau, G.A., & Patton, K.T. (2008). Structure & function of the body. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Dog with Bladder Stones
Please do me a favor and let Keli know that I took Panzer in for a bladder stone check-up and they are completely gone! I was so relieved I cried. I couldn't possibly thank Keli enough for walking me through the diet (he's been on Smallbatch since her and I spoke in July with the Daily Multi Plus) and between that and using the Antilithic supplement, his health couldn't be better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You have a customer for life.
Jennifer

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