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Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones in your dog can lead to urination issues and, in some cases, life-threatening situations. Our Jackson vets are here to share with you what dog owners need to know about bladder stones in their canine companions.

What are bladder stones in dogs?

Bladder stones, also known as cystic calculi or uroliths, are minerals that group and turn into rock-like formations in a dog’s urinary bladder.

Bladder stones could be a buildup of multiple small stones or a single larger stone. In dogs, these stones typically range from the size of a grain of sand to a piece of gravel.

What are symptoms of bladder stones?

Common symptoms of bladder stones in dogs include:

  • Struggle/straining to urinate (Dysuria)
  • Blood in urine (Hematuria)
  • Whining while urinating

When a dog develops bladder stones, they can rub against the wall of the bladder, leading to irritation, tissue damage and bleeding. If the urethra or bladder wall is swollen, this may result in urine flow becoming physically obstructed. This can lead to dysuria.

Diagnosis of Bladder Stones in Dogs

Bladder stones and their symptoms are different from cystitis; most dogs who have bladder stones do not have a bladder infection. Therefore, your vet may need to do more investigation before diagnosing. 

Some stones will be too small to be felt with the fingers by palpating them through the bladder wall, or the bladder may be too inflamed. Other options include x-rays or an ultrasound or radiographic contrast study.

How to Get Rid of Bladder Stones in Dogs

If your vet confirms your pup has bladder stones, you may ask, “What dissolves bladder stones in dogs?”

There are three typical treatments for bladder stones:

  • Surgical removal
  • Non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion
  • Prescription diet and antibiotics

Left untreated, these stones become painful and can obstruct the neck of the bladder or urethra, resulting in your dog not being able to fully empty his or her bladder and only producing small squirts of urine.

Complete obstructions can lead to urine being totally blocked. If the obstruction is not relieved, this can cause a potentially life-threatening condition and lead to a ruptured bladder. This would be classified as a veterinary medical emergency, which would need your veterinarian's immediate attention.


Prognosis is usually good after bladder stones have been eliminated, although your vet should take preventive measures to lower risk of the stones from returning.

Following the elimination of the stones, your dog should see your primary care veterinarian every few months for x-rays or ultrasounds to determine whether stones are returning. If the stones are small enough in size, the vet may use nonsurgical hydropulsion to remove them.

If your dog is having difficulty urinating, our veterinarians can help. We are experienced in diagnosing and effectively treating many conditions and illnesses.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog has bladder stones? Book an appointment with our Jackson vets for an assessment today.

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