Problems related to bladder are common in Labrador Retrievers as well as other breeds. Urinary tract stone disease happens when urinary stone, medically referred to as urolith, forms as microscopic crystals precipitate in the urinary system. This stone may vary in size and number as they form in your pet’s urinary bladder.
Urinary tract stone disease is known in other names such as urolithiasis, urinary stones, ureteral stones, urinary calculi and urinary calculus disease. This disease has two forms- cystic calculi and urethral calculi. Cystic calculi often occurs in female dogs wherein the urinary tract bacterial infection within a bladder causes a shift in the urine pH, causing stones to form. On the other hand, urethral calculi occurs in male dogs caused by infection in rare cases. There are several types of bladder stones and these stones vary depending on their chemical make-up. The two most common are struvite and calcium oxalate. Struvite stones are mainly composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate.
There are many reasons why dogs develop bladder stones. It could be your dog’s lifestyle or diet. Your dog’s diet should help to maintain a low pH since struvite stones are formed with a high pH. That is why it is important to include animal-based protein diets to help maintain low pH. Genes also play an important role in the development of urinary stones. A dog with stones within a tract should not be included in breeding to prevent the spread of the disease. Another cause of this disease is bacterial infection. Bacterial infection helps in producing magnesium phosphate that eventually becomes stones.
Some dogs with bladder stones may not show any sign of the disease. But to some, the most common sign of bladder stones in Labrador Retrievers is blood in the urine. Frequent urination as well as painful urination is also common.
Stones in the bladder may not threaten your dog’s health but may lead to renal failure and pyelonephritis if not treated immediately. X-rays and ultrasound is important to determine the disease and the proper treatment. Some bladder stones can be treated through oral medication. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the stones within the bladder. This process is referred to as cystotomy. Medical therapy may be needed in conjunction with the surgery. It can also be used by itself alone. Urinary tract stone disease could be treated easily if it is caused by diet problems. But could be hard to treat if caused by genes.