Dogs cannot tell us if something is wrong, so it’s up to their humans to read the signs and contact a veterinarian if necessary. The good news is that you know your dog’s habits, mannerisms and physical abilities, which means you should be able to notice the slightest change in their demeanor. He or she may be trying to tell you that something is wrong—like with their kidneys, for example.
All dogs can potentially develop kidney stones, which are crystal formations in the kidneys created by a concentration of mineral salts in the urine. Kidney stones, also known as uroliths or nephroliths, can be painful and lead to urinary tract infections, inflammation, tissue damage and urinary tract obstruction. Note that stones can also form in the bladder, urethra or ureter.
You are probably wondering when you should schedule an appointment with your dog vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. The answer is when you suspect your dog is suffering from poor kidney function or they show signs of kidney problems. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the symptoms, causes and treatment of kidney stones in dogs.
The symptoms of kidney stones in dogs are similar to those of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Your dog may be urinating in odd places, licking their genitals a lot, straining to pee or seeming to be in pain when peeing. There might be blood in their urine, or they are urinating frequently only to dribble out small amounts. Another symptom is having regular UTIs. However, some stones may not cause symptoms at all.
Causes and diagnosis
The most common causes of kidney stones include increased mineral salt concentration in the urine resulting from diet or a UTI, increased water re-absorption by the kidneys, dehydration, changes in their urine pH due to UTI and extended use of diuretics. Additionally, some breeds are genetically predisposed, such as the Yorkshire Terrier, Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apso and Miniature Schnauzer.
Schedule an appointment right away if you suspect stones, and try to collect a sample of urine straight from the urine stream. Use a container, seal it and put it in the fridge to take to their same-day vet appointment. Your vet will note the symptoms you observed, followed by conducting a physical exam focusing on the bladder and abdominal areas, then take x-rays or an ultrasound of the abdomen. They may do a urinalysis on the urine sample to detect blood, abnormal pH and crystals.
Your vet will determine the proper course of treatment depending on the size, location and type of stone. Medications or supplements may be prescribed to dissolve the stones, but for stones that are at low risk of becoming obstructions, a simple dietary adjustment may be implemented. Surgery is a possibility when the risk of obstruction is high.
If you suspect your dog is showing signs of kidney stones, call Newkirk Family Veterinarians, your trusted dog vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, immediately. We’re here to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.