Kidney Stones in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Kidney Stones in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Kidney Stones in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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 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.

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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


Kidney stones form from the precipitation of mineral salts. 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.  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, in some situations.

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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Worried about the cost of Kidney Stones treatment?

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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

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Rockco

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Pit bull

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12 Years

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24 found helpful

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24 found helpful

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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24 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

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2 Years

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6 found helpful

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6 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Struvite Crystal
Ehrlichia
Blood In Urine

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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6 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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Kidney Stones Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$3,500

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