Bladder Surgery for Dogs

Bladder surgery for dogs is normally performed to remove stones from this organ. Bladder stones can cause a number of problems, ranging from mild to severe and depending upon the type of stones present, surgery may be the only option. There are other treatment methods available, however, so it can be important to understand which type of stones are present inside your dog's bladder, and what forms of treatment can help to manage them properly.

Struvite Stones

Bladder surgery for dogs is sometimes recommended for struvite stones, but may be an option only after other methods have failed. Struvite stones are caused by a buildup of magnesium, ammonium or phosphate. These crystals have a unique shape and can be readily identified through a urine sample. Antibiotic drugs may help, and a change in diet should first be recommended for a period of 3 to 6 months. There are specially formulated commercial diets available on the market, or a recipe can be prepared at home. The diet contains less of the perpetrating minerals that are causing the stones and added salt to encourage water consumption. Intake of water is especially important, as urine will be more diluted which helps the stones to dissolve. Dogs are not recommended to continue long-term on this type of diet, so if stones haven't dissolved within a few months, surgical removal will likely be recommended.

Urate Urinary Stones

Urate urinary stones may be managed without the need for bladder surgery for dogs as well. These stones form when there is an increase of uric acid in the urine and an inappropriate metabolism of purines. Drugs are available to reduce the amount of uric acid produced by a dog's body, and special diets can provide less purines and restricted protein to help dissolve the stones. If the condition does not resolve itself within a few months' time, surgery will likely be the treatment of choice.

Calcium Oxalate and Others

Calcium oxalate stones and other urinary stones which refuse to dissolve with dietary and medical treatment will almost always require bladder surgery for dogs. Calcium oxalate stones are very difficult to manage with diet alone, but can be prevented from recurring after surgery by feeding a special diet dog food. Commercial brands are available by prescription only.

Bladder Surgery for Dogs

There are many ways which bladder surgery for dogs can be performed and the integration of medical treatments and dietary changes, even after surgery, can be of significant benefit to your dog. Occasionally, stones can be reached and crushed, without an incision, using specialized medical tools. In most cases, however, a small incision is made in the bladder and the stones are scooped out. Use of a catheter will likely be necessary to be sure the bladder is flushed thoroughly and all obstructions have been removed. The formation of new stones on the incision is possible, so a specialized stitching technique should be used to prevent this. Use of a catheter may be required for a few days after surgery is complete. This is to avoid pressure on the newly sutured bladder. Most dogs will recover well from surgery, and the primary focus should then be prevention for the future.