Struvite bladder stones are a common urinary tract problem that could cause significant problems for your dog. In some cases, if it is not treated, then the condition could be life-threatening without veterinary intervention and possible surgery. Here is more information about struvite bladder stones, their symptoms, and common ways that they are treated and prevented.
What Are Struvite Bladder Stones?
Bladder stones typically come in two different types: Struvite and oxalate. Both involved crystallized urine made from salts and minerals present in the urine. Struvite is a normally free-flowing compound of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate in the urine.
As long as your dog's urine stays relatively acidic, this compound causes no problems. However, certain bacteria, such as from a bladder infection, can cause the urine to become more alkaline, and that's when the stones begin to form.
What Are the Symptoms of Struvite Bladder Stones?
Most dogs with struvite bladder stones will show symptoms similar to that of other urinary tract infections. Mostly, they will strain to urinate and may even show signs of being in pain. Often, they will act like they need to urinate often but express very little urine.
What Types of Dogs Get Struvite Bladder Stones?
Female dogs are the most likely to get struvite bladder stones. Certain breeds, such a miniature Schnauzers and Shih Tzus are also known to get both struvite and oxalate bladder stones. If your dog has chronic bladder infections, then he or she is also at higher risk.
What Treatments Are Effective for Struvite Bladder Stones?
If the stones are very large and causing a near complete blockage, then surgery is the quickest way to alleviate the problem. For small stones, the veterinarian can do a procedure called urohydropropulsion where, under anesthesia, the bladder is manipulated so that the stones expel through the urethra. In some cases, diet and with medications can assist in dissolving the stones.
What Prevention Techniques Work for Struvite Bladder Stones?
Preventing and promptly treating bladder infections is the best way to reduce the chance of a recurring struvite stones. Under certain conditions, your dog may be prescribed a long-term, low-protein diet to increase or maintain the correct pH levels in the urine. This diet is different from the temporary diet used to dissolve the stones.
Any type of bladder stone or infection is a serious problem for your dog, so if you notice that your dog is having any difficulty urinating, then take him or her to see a veterinarian at an organization like Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic. Treating infection early will prevent many problems later on. While not all bladder problems require surgery, they all have serious impacts on your dog's health.