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What are Kidney Stones?

All dogs are susceptible to developing kidney stones, though some breeds are more susceptible to certain types of stones. Kidney stones can be painful and lead to urinary tract inflammation, infection, tissue damage and possible urinary tract obstruction. Kidney stones, also known as uroliths (or nephroliths), are crystal formations in the kidneys resulting from the concentration of mineral salts in the urine. Stones can also form in the bladder, ureters or urethra. If you suspect your pet is having symptoms of kidney stones, schedule an veterinarian appointment as soon as possible. If you can, collect a sample of urine in a container directly from the stream of urine.

Kidney Stones Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,500

Average Cost

$3,500

Symptoms of Kidney Stones in Dogs

Stones may not cause symptoms at all. Symptoms that may be observed are similar to those involved with urinary tract infections and include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinating in odd places
  • Licking at genitals
  • Pain during urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination producing only small amounts
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Abdominal pain
Types

Bladder stones form from the precipitation of mineral salts and can reach 3-4 inches in diameter. The type of salt that the crystal is formed from defines the kidney stone type, though some stones can be formed from more than one type of salt. Struvite and calcium oxalate stones make up approximately 85 percent of canine uroliths. Kidney stones can be made up of several types of minerals, including:

  • Uric acid
  • Calcium oxalate
  • Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate)
  • Cystine
  • Calcium phosphate
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Causes of Kidney Stones in Dogs

The normal urine of a dog is slightly acidic and contains dissolved mineral products. As long as the urine remains dilute and at the correct pH, mineral salts remain in solution. If the pH of the urine becomes too acidic or alkaline or the urine becomes too concentrated, crystals of salt will precipitate out and form stones. The causes of kidney stone formation can include one or more of the following:

  • Increased mineral salt concentration in the urine (can result from diet or urinary tract infection).

  • Increased water reabsorption by the kidneys
  • Changes in urine pH (can result from diet or urinary tract infection)
  • Urinary tract infection – bacteria produce urease, an enzyme that breaks down urea in dog urine resulting in a more alkaline urine pH.
  • Long term use of diuretics
  • Dehydration
  • Genetic predisposition - breeds include (but are not limited to) the bichon fries, lhasa apso, miniature schnauzer, and Yorkshire terrier.
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Diagnosis of Kidney Stones in Dogs

If you suspect your pet is having symptoms of kidney stones, visit the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can, collect a sample of urine in a container directly from the stream of urine. Keep the urine in the refrigerator until your appointment. Samples over 24 hours old may not be useful for analysis. Try to collect a sample first thing in the morning the day of your veterinarian visit.

A history of symptoms will be noted. A complete physical examination can detect an obstructed bladder and/or abdominal pain. The definitive diagnosis of kidney stones is made using abdominal x-ray or ultrasound.

If you are not able to collect a sample of urine from home, the veterinarian can collect one at the clinic. A urinalysis can detect the presence of blood in the urine, abnormal pH and the presence of crystals. A guess as to the type of stone can be made based on microscopic observation of urine, however detecting the true makeup is through submission of a stone or stone fragment to the laboratory for analysis.

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Treatment of Kidney Stones in Dogs

Method of treatment will depend on the size, type and location of the stones.

Medications

Medications or supplements can be prescribed to acidify the urine and aid in dissolving the stones. Medications may be prescribed to increase water intake in an attempt to dilute mineral salts in the urine. Antibiotics may be required to prevent urinary tract infection or treat a current infection. Pain medications may be prescribed.

Dietary Adjustment

When risk of urinary tract obstruction is low, and depending on makeup of stones, a specialized diet may be prescribed to increase thirst (dilute the urine) or bring the pH of the urine to a normal level. These diets are normally low in protein, phosphorus and magnesium. A proper diet can result in stone dissolution within 2-12 weeks.

Urohydropropulsion

When the risk of urinary tract obstruction is high (or the pet is already obstructed), and the stones are relatively small, urohydropropulsion may be performed. Under general anesthesia or heavy sedation, a urinary catheter is passed through the urethra and the stones are flushed out with a sterile saline solution.

Surgery

When the risk of urinary tract obstruction is high (or the pet is already obstructed), and the stones are too large for urohydropropulsion, surgery may be required. Surgery may also be necessary if dietary changes are not resolving the stones. Surgery may involve removing a kidney or cleaning stones from the bladder and flushing the bladder and urethra.

ESWL

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy has the advantage of removing stones without invasive surgery. High-energy sound waves break up the stones into small enough pieces to be flushed from the urinary tract.

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Recovery of Kidney Stones in Dogs

Follow up appointments for urinalysis and/or abdominal x-rays should be done every 4-6 weeks after treatment initiation to ensure stones are dissolving and new ones are not forming. Pets with recurrent kidney stone issues may need to be examined by x-ray or urinalysis every 3-6 months long-term.

A therapeutic diet may need to be fed for life depending on the stone type and predisposition to urinary tract infections and stone formation. Some urinary diets are not advised for long term use because they are not complete diets. There are other urinary maintenance diets that the pet will need to transition to once the stones are dissolved. Dietary changes are normally very effective in treating genetic predisposition to kidney stones.

Kidney stones tend to recur. Routine monitoring for symptoms of urinary tract infection and kidney stones is essential. Always treat urinary tract infections as soon as you notice symptoms.

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Kidney Stones Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,500

Average Cost

$3,500

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Kidney Stones Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Rockco

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting,Bleeding
Vomiting,Bleeding Not Able To Pee

My Dog Rocko 12 years old was diagnosed with kidney stone on Aug 10 2018 . The vet don’t know what kind of stones it is cause they needed to send them to the lab, they provided me with a medication call ciprofloxacin 750pomg half tablet twice a day to give to Rocko for 14 days. What do this med suppose to do? When I look it up it just say for dogs. When we was at the vet they was able to drain some of the stones through a tube that place in his private part cause he wasn’t able urinate . The Vet also gave me some light tan stone in a container to keep. Rockco been on the med for 3 days so far, but He still having problems urinating. Sunday we stayed outside almost the whole day hoping he will be able to pee, but nothing came out until 11:30pm and when it came out it was everywhere. It look like it was more blood then anything, is that suppose to happen? After he let it out he was able to pee and sleep, Now on the fourth day I took him out he not doing anything but a drip here and there. He do not seemed like His under any discomfort as of now. How long do I suppose to wait before I know if the stones are going to pass or not? If he keep bleeding will he bleed to death?

Aug. 13, 2018

Rockco's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic for possible urinary tract infection, which often leads to stones. A blockage with a stone can be a life threatening problem for him, and he should most likely be having surgery to get rid of those bladder stones. An x-ray will show if the stones have passed, but if he is still having problems, they are likely still there. If your veterinarian is not comfortable performing that procedure, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion, as this problem must be very painful for him.

Aug. 13, 2018

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Clyde

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Urine
Struvite Crystal
Ehrlichia

I have a 2 year old shih tzu that was diagnosed with an early stage of Ehrlichia. He was given Doxycycline 2 times a day to treat his Ehrlichia. However, I observed that he begun to have thick blood in his urine and small drops of blood keeps on dripping from his penis. I brought him back to the vet and they performed CBC, Ehrlichia test, Xray, and urinalysis. He was diagnosed with a scale 3 Ehrlichia and no bladder stones, but he does have struvites crystals from his urine. They prescribed to change his diet into Royal Canin Urinary S/O diet, Rowatinex (2 times a day for 2 weeks), and Co amoxiclav (2 times a day for 2 weeks) for the struvite crystals. For his Erhlichia, they still continued to give him Doxycycline (2 times a day for 28 days) and Nefrotec-DS (2 times a day for 1 month). Would it be ok for my dog to intake all this medicines 2 times a day? Would there be any side effects after intaking almost 4 medicines every 12 hours? I hope you could help me. I am very worried of Clyde. :(

July 31, 2018

Clyde's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It seems that Clyde does need those medications to treat his current conditions, and if they are prescribed every 12 hours, that is when they should be given. If he has any stomach upset, you may need to split them up, but those medications are safe to give together.

July 31, 2018

That's great to know! Were the meds given to him could really help in his condition?

Aug. 2, 2018

Ameera C.

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Kingston

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Westie

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Distended Stomach In Apperance,
Accidents In The House
Visual Stones On Xray

We found out today that our 7 year old westie has 2 kidney stones (found through x rays) They gave us antibiotics to put him on (his 3rd round as they thought it was a UTI at first.) They are also now recommending a very expensive MRI before they can determine if surgery is next. From reading all the above, no one has mentioned a MRI. Is that necessary? Should we be getting a 2nd option?

July 25, 2018

Kingston's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Personally I would go for an ultrasound if I needed more definition of the kidney stones or just for a general check; if your Veterinarian is recommending an MRI you should discuss with them the reasons as there may be a specific reason for the MRI. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2018

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Muffin

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Kidney Stone Removed In 2016

Hi! About 3 years ago my dog had surgery to remove a kidney stone. Ever since she’s been on Hills Prescription Diet c/d. Every time I go to renew my Rx I wonder if there is this actually necessary? Am I paying for a high priced prescription food when actually there’s something out there that is better balanced and ingredient wise does just as much to deter stones from forming? I’ve always been scared of it happening again so I’ve never experimented with other foods... but when I saw this website I couldn’t help but ask when I saw all the good advice! Thanks in advance!

July 23, 2018

Muffin's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Prescription diets are always recommended in dogs which have a history of urinary stones, there are certain diets which may help reduce the incidence of urinary stones but it is important to know which types of stones Muffin had. The link below goes into detail about different urinary stones and preventative measures, however I would recommend discussing with your Veterinarian the types of stones Muffin had first. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/urinary-system/noninfectious-diseases-of-the-urinary-system-in-small-animals/urolithiasis-in-small-animals

July 23, 2018

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Bentley

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Positive Radiographs

My dog is one year post-cystotomy for removal of calcium oxalate bladder stones. Today in follow up radiographs, a new diagnosis of kidney stones was made. Comparing the radiographs from last year to today there were no calcifications notes in the kidneys. My dog is on a strict Urinary SO diet only. He is currently asymptomatic, with no grossly obvious abnormalities. My question is what are treatment options for kidney stones? Is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) a reasonable treatment option?

March 29, 2018

Bentley's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy is a common procedure in human medicine but it isn’t so common in veterinary medicine with only a few specialist centres and veterinary schools having the equipment to do so; each case is evaluated individually and it is down to the Veterinarian whether Bentley is a good candidate for the procedure or not. You should discuss with your Veterinarian about this and whether there are any practices which offer this in your area. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 30, 2018

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KIRPIK

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Kidney Stones
Fake Pregnancy
Sleep More

hi , my dog has some issues about fake pregnancy and she had heat around 39.8 C .we went to veterinary and discover that she has kidney stones and cyrstals , minerals ...etc Veterinary start diet with vet type renal feeding and she gave me also one medicine (like power) . she told me we need to look at X-ray after 6 month and till that time we should use this diet but this feeding has no enough protein . is it too long to use them ? my dog will not feed enought which will cause another problems. I also scared that veterinary advise my dog can be kidney failure in short term . what should I do

dog-name-icon

Jasper

dog-breed-icon

Maltese/Pug

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Kidney Stones

My 9 yr old 16lb maltese/pug has just been diagnosed with 21 kidney stones. About 2 years ago, my vet discovered crystals in his urine, so we put him on special kibbles, a urinary SO - diet. The vet says surgery isn't really urgent, there's just a little blood in his urine, but has asked for an early morning specimen, so they can do a culture. I'm concerned about how many there are, and why it's not urgent, especially if they do start moving, and cause a blockage. Right now, there are no signs of pain or frequent urination. But I don't want to wait until we reach a crisis stage. Should I see if they can be destroyed by shock waves? And just be proactive before this becomes an emergency? Help!

dog-name-icon

Louie

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Struggling To Pee

Hi my dog Louie recently when we took him to the vet he was x-rayed and the vet told us he has 3 kidney stones and might need surgery later on in the future recently he has been struggling to pee he only pees a little bit and I'm very worried the vet told us the surgery might cost us $800 dollars and we can't afford that it's too much money if you have any recommendations of what type of foods I should give him that would be great

dog-name-icon

Toby

dog-breed-icon

Yorkie

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My 13 yr Yorkie had 3 stones in his bladder surgically remove 6 mths. Ago. They were diagnosed by xray whick also showed a possible 3 additional stones in his kidney's. Now he has been diagnosed wil 1 sone in 1 kidney and 2 stones in the other. We are working on getting him to eat. At this time scrambled eggs, whick he is keeping down. As far was water he has drank very little since they gave him fluids and antibiotic yesterday. He is more active but had a small loose bm this morning. This dog was my mom n dads untill 10 mths ago when they were both passed away and the fed him table food all his life. Since I've had him I still can't get him to eat dog food even though we are trying the perscription dog food which he just refuses to eat. What are your thoughts on this situation.3

dog-name-icon

Gizmo

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

2 Kidney Stone Removal On Tuesday.

My 10 year old dog just had 2 stones removed. He is only urinated 2 times in the past 50 hours. Is this typical? He is eating and drinking like usual. The surgery was 5 days ago.

Kidney Stones Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,500

Average Cost

$3,500

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