What is a bladder stone?
Also known as bladder calculi, bladder stones are mineral formations that are formed within the bladder and can appear as a single stone that increases in size over time or multiple smaller stones that continue to grow in number and size. Symptoms can include straining, frequent urination, blood in the urine and accidents around the home, as well as licking the area due to discomfort and pain.
Causes of bladder stones
The most common cause of these stones is from poor diets that contain excess salt – these salts begin to form crystals in the urine which continue to grow. Occasionally, genetic issues where particular enzymes are missing (in the case of Dalmatians) can be a contributing factor.
At Brisbane Pet Surgery, we commonly use x-rays to diagnose bladder stones, though crystals may sometimes be detected in a urine sample. In some cases, we may also use careful palpation of the abdomen during consultations to reveal stones in the bladder.
For the quickest solution to clinical signs, surgery is recommended. We make an incision in the ventral abdomen to expose the bladder, before we make a further incision and remove the stones. We then close the bladder and the abdomen – the procedure is quick, generally taking no longer that 30 minutes. On occasion, a special diet can be used to dissolve the stones over a period of many weeks, rather than use surgery.
Cost of the procedure
At Brisbane Pet Surgery, we charge between $1,000 - $1,500 to diagnose and treat these cases. If there are stones present in the urethra of a male dog, longer surgery, with initial costs, may be required. Additionally, the stones can be sent for analysis to determine their make-up, which will further increase the costs. If treated by a referral centre, these cases can cost owners between $4,000 - $7,000 and upward, depending on how long your pet stays at the hospital.
Recovery and aftercare
We often only require your pet to spend a single night in our hospital before they return home into your care with pain relief and antibiotics. Once at home, you will generally be required to change their diet to one of a number of premium or prescription foods to ensure the stones don’t return.