Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) Average Cost

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What is Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis)?

Urinary bladder stones, which are also called uroliths, form in the bladder, but can sometimes be found in the kidneys, as well as in the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The condition is also known as cystitis, urethritis, urinary calculi, kidney stones or bladder stones. Since they irritate the lining of the urinary tract, these urate stones cause pain, discomfort, blood in the urine, difficulties urinating and partial or full blockage. Even though all dogs are susceptible to the condition, smaller breeds are at a higher risk of developing urolithiasis. Most dogs recover without experiencing any complications. However, if your dog cannot urinate, that means that they aren’t able to eliminate waste from their bodies, which could result in death. For this reason, you should take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as you notice any of the symptoms that could be a sign of the condition.

Urolithiasis is a disease caused by the formation of stones or crystals in the urinary tract, making urination extremely painful or virtually impossible. The condition affects all breeds, ages and both genders. The overall prognosis for resolution is positive, although the stones may reappear at some point in the future. 


Symptoms of Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) in Dogs

  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Reduced appetite 
  • Pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Inability to urinate 

If you notice any of the symptoms of urolithiasis, seek immediate veterinary help. Though the condition typically resolves with proper treatment, failure to contact your veterinarian when your pet begins showing these signs may eventually lead to life-threatening problems and even death.  


The four most common types of stones are struvite, calcium oxalate, cystine, and ammonium urate.

Causes of Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) in Dogs

Even though there is no single cause of urolithiasis, a number of factors can contribute to the development of the condition in dogs. 

These factors include: 

  • Age: Dogs between the ages of two and ten are vulnerable to the condition 
  • Gender: Both sexes are equally affected by the disease, but life-threatening urethral obstruction is more often seen in males
  • Breed: Various breeds are susceptible to the condition, including the Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier, German Shepherd, Welsh Corgi, English Bulldog, Dalmatian, Beagle, Dachshund, Basset Hound, Miniature Poodle, and Scottish Terrier 
  • Daily routine: Stones and crystals often occur in dogs that don’t receive enough exercise, that don’t take in enough water and that eat foods that are packed with protein or certain minerals (magnesium, phosphorus and calcium)

Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has urinary tract stones, your veterinarian will first do an extensive physical examination to determine the presence of the stones. Palpation can sometimes reveal the stones quite easily. The veterinarian  will also order a urinalysis and urine culture. If bacteria are present in your dog’s urinary tract, your veterinarian will administer antibiotics to your pet. 

The next step is to perform an ultrasound to determine the location, size and shape of the stones. This will allow your veterinarian to evaluate the severity of your dog’s condition, enabling them to decide on the best possible course of treatment. Radiographs may also be useful to view multiple uroliths throughout the urinary tract. Finally, bloodwork will be done to rule out any underlying medical condition that might cause the formation of the stone. 

Treatment of Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) in Dogs

Treatment will depend on the type of stones that are present in the urinary tract. Sometimes, surgery is needed to resolve urolithiasis. However, such drastic measures are not required in most cases. Alternative treatment typically involves feeding your dog a special diet and giving them prescribed medication or just feeding them the special diet, which features reduced amounts of certain minerals and protein. 

Medication will usually take at least one month to dissolve the stone. If a bacterial infection is present, using antibiotics should help. Careful attention to, and adherence to the instructions regarding the administration of the medication is very important for complete resolution of the stones. As far as your dog’s eating regimen is concerned, always consult your vet before switching to a different diet and ask them to advise you on dietary guidelines and foods that will improve your dog’s condition.

Recovery of Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) in Dogs

In addition to following your veterinarian’s instructions in regard to either medications or post-surgery care, feed your dog only the prescribed diet. Make sure that your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times and provide them a quiet place to rest, especially if the stones were removed surgically. Since stones can often recur, take your dog for regular check-ups, as your veterinarian will perform an ultrasound twice a year to monitor their condition. Also, continue feeding them the special diet and look out for the symptoms of the disease. If caught and treated early, urolithiasis can easily be resolved. 

Urinary Tract Stones/Crystals (Urolithiasis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Golden Retreiver
2 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

urine with blood

hey doctor, i got some questions for you :)
1. what is the effect of the dog's diet on the disease of urolithiasis?
2. what is the influence of dog type golden retriever for urolithiasis disease?
3. what is the relation of the dog's diet to the disease of urolithiasis?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Diet can play a large role in urinary stones by making the urine too acidic or too alkaline; also some diets may have large quantities of calcium and other minerals which would be excreted by the kidneys and may add to the problem. Infections can act as a nidus to start the formation of urinary stones which is why we sometimes see them as concurrent conditions. Golden Retrievers are not an at risk breed for urinary stones but still may occur. If a dog is suffering from urinary stones, dietary changes can help change the pH to assist in dissolving them and preventing them too; this doesn’t work for all urinary stones. The link below is a useful resource for urinary stone issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/urinary-system/noninfectious-diseases-of-the-urinary-system-in-small-animals/urolithiasis-in-small-animals

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