Surgical Treatment for Stones in Dogs

Stones in dogs can be located in the kidneys or bladder. They are very painful and will require surgery if other treatment options have not worked to eliminate them, or if there is an emergency situation where the stones need to be immediately removed.

Stones in Dogs

A dog will develop kidney or bladder stones when there is a buildup of salts, calcium, phosphorus, ammonia and other elements. When these items accumulate in the urine, they'll begin to build up in the kidneys or bladder and form stones, similar to how sugar dissolved in a glass of water will cling to a thread or piece of wood and form sugar crystals over time.

A dog with stones will find it hard to pass urine. When urine does pass, it will most likely have blood in it from the stones scratching the lining of the bladder. This is very painful for a dog and untreated stones can block the urethra, causing urine to accumulate in the body.

Surgical Treatment for Stones in Dogs

If a dog's stones are seriously impairing his health or he isn't able to pass the stones on his own, they'll have to be surgically removed. These stones are typically high in phosphate or calcium.

When surgically treating a female dog, a veterinarian will use a fluoroscope, which is made up of an x-ray machine and fluorescent screen to help guide the surgical tools being used. Doing this helps make the procedure not as invasive, since a vet can easily see the stones in the bladder, break them up with a biopsy needle punch, and allow the dog to pass the smaller stones on her own.

The use of a laser may be employed when an extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is used. A laser beam is passed through a cystoscope, which allows it to pass through a tip made of quartz fiber and reduces the dog's stones into smaller pieces the dog can pass himself. Sometimes a dog is assisted with the flushing-out of the stones when a catheter is placed, a procedure called an urohydropropulsion. A cystograph then allows a vet to look into the dog's bladder to make sure all of the stones were broken down and flushed out.

Laparoscopic cystoscopy can also be performed through a dog's urethra and via a small incision in a dog's abdomen. Forceps or a basket-removal tool is then used to manually remove the stones in order from largest to smallest. The smallest of the stones may be flushed out. If there are stones that have passed into the urethra, they will be placed into the bladder and removed. Stones removed directly from the urethra can scar the tissue within it, cause infection or cause it to constrict. When finished, a veterinarian will flush the bladder out with antibiotics and acetic acid before closing the incisions.

In the case of kidney stones, which are rare occurrences in dogs, treatment may require the removal of a dog's kidney.

Kidney and bladder stones can be potentially dangerous situations for a dog that will cause him a lot of pain. Seeking early intervention for stones in dogs can help eliminate them before surgery is required.