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Bladder Stone Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

As the name suggests, bladder stones are rock-like formations that develop in the bladder due to a build-up of certain minerals. These can develop over a period of weeks or months, and produce symptoms that may be similar to bladder infections or cystitis. A formal diagnosis will need to be made by your veterinarian, but here are some of the things to look out for.

Common symptoms

As you might expect, the symptoms of bladder stones in dogs and cats are mainly problems with urination. But the main things to look out for are your pet straining to urinate (dysuria) and blood in the urine (hematuria).

As the bladder stones develop, they rub against the side of the bladder, leading to irritation and eventually damage to the lining. This is when you will see blood in your pet’s urine. This irritation also results in swelling of the bladder walls, which makes it both difficult to urinate, and also makes the animal need to urinate more frequently.

Bladder stone symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Producing only small amounts of urine
  • Incontinence or leaking urine
  • Abdominal discomfort

If the bladder stones have created a blockage in the urethra, they may also display:

  • Vomiting
  • Distended abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms you should consult your vet immediately. An obstruction in the urethra can be life-threatening if left untreated. Once an animal cannot empty their bladder, they are at risk of damage to the kidneys or a ruptured bladder, along with a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.

Diagnosing bladder stones

Your veterinarian may use a number of methods to diagnose or rule out bladder stones. If you suspect your dog or cat is suffering from bladder stones, the first thing your vet will do is review your pet’s medical history, and get a rundown of any recent symptoms.

A physical examination, including palpitating the bladder, can reveal discomfort or inflammation in the area. Other tests may include a urinalysis to rule out urinary infections, blood work to rule out a number of blood-related conditions, or tests to check for electrolyte imbalances. If bladder stones are suspected, an x-ray or ultrasound of the urinary tract can reveal the presence of stones or other issues.

Of course, if your pet has passed any stones in their urine, these will confirm the diagnosis. Speak to your vet about collecting these stones as samples, as the type of stone will determine the best way to treat and prevent further bladder stones.

Bladder Stone Symptoms in Dogs and Cats

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