Definition of Bladder Stones
Bladder stones, also called urinary calculi or uroliths, are abnormal accumulations of minerals and other things in the urinary bladder. Canine urine contains a number of substances that normally remain dissolved. When urine gets too concentrated, these dissolved substances can crystalize. Common urinary crystals in dogs are struvite, calcium oxalate, urate, calcium phosphate, silicate and cystine. Over time, crystals can combine with bacteria and other material to form bladder stones. Diet, hydration, urine pH, bladder infections, medications, conformation of urinary structures and genetics all may influence stone formation. Bladder stones are common, especially in older dogs and males. They cause problems when they damage the bladder lining or block the passageway to the outside world, called the urethra. This causes urine to back up, which is extremely painful, can cause the bladder to rupture and is potentially fatal. It’s important for owners to recognize the signs of bladder stone obstructions, so that they can get their dog to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.