Canine Kidney Stones
Kidney stones in dogs aren’t very common. Whenever they do form though, they cause a potentially very serious medical condition to develop. Dogs that are smaller, castrated, or obese have a higher risk of developing canine kidney stones.
You should know that there are various minerals that are naturally found in your dog’s body. They include magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and ammonia. Normally, they are filtered thanks to the kidneys. Other times though, they won’t be as soluble and will begin to get bigger.
Canine kidney stones start out as a single crystal of some type of mineral. Over time, other crystals will accumulate on the initial crystal causing it to get larger. Even when these stones develop, they can travel throughout the urinary system and be flushed out of the body. Sometimes, they will get stuck somewhere in the system.
When kidney stones in dogs occur in the kidneys, then they can block the ureters. Without being able to pass urine out of the affected ureters, the urine will begin to accumulate in the kidneys and causing them to become swollen. If the condition isn’t reversed quickly, your dog will suffer extensive kidney damage and even death.
Canine kidney stones can form because of several different reasons. Infections of one of the kidneys or urinary tract may be responsible. Diet or certain medications may also play a role. Other dogs develop it because of natural aging.
Dogs that develop these stones will start urinating more frequently, although they will pass small amounts of urine at a time. You may notice them straining to urinate or even the presence of blood in the urine. Dogs with kidney stones frequently start using the bathroom in weird places, which comes as a shock to owners of housebroken dogs. Other common symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, and general weakness.
Kidney stones in dogs can usually be detected with the use of an x-ray machine. This isn’t always the case however as some stones won’t show up on an x-ray. Therefore, an ultrasound can be handy. These stones frequently lead to infections of the bladder, so a urinalysis is also useful.
There are various options to treat canine kidney stones. Most dogs will have to undergo surgery to have them removed. If the kidney damage is too extensive, then the organ may need to be removed also. Fortunately, dogs are able to survive with just one functioning kidney.
Diets can sometimes be used to dissolve the stones. The best diet will depend on the type of stones present though. One will have to be removed to determine what they are made of. Some companies offer commercial dog food made especially for canines with kidney stones. These foods can also help limit the risk of your dog developing stones in the first place since they contain smaller amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and protein.