Recognizing Bladder Stone Symptoms In Dogs And Cats


Bladder stones, as the name implies, are solid mineral deposits in the bladder. These stones develop over several weeks or months and can cause symptoms similar to bladder infections or cystitis. For an accurate diagnosis, it's essential to consult your veterinarian. Here are some signs to watch for.

Common Symptoms Of Bladder Stones

As expected, the primary symptoms of bladder stones in dogs and cats involve urination issues. Key signs include your pet straining to urinate (dysuria) and blood in the urine (hematuria).

As bladder stones develop, they irritate and damage the lining, causing blood in the urine. This irritation also causes swelling of the bladder walls, making urination difficult and more frequent.

Symptoms of bladder stones include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Producing only small amounts of urine
  • Incontinence or leaking urine
  • Abdominal discomfort

If bladder stones block the urethra, additional symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Distended abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

If you observe any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately. A urethral obstruction can be life-threatening if untreated. The inability to empty the bladder can damage the kidneys, cause the bladder to rupture, and lead to a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.

Diagnosis Of Bladder Stones

Your veterinarian may use various methods to diagnose or rule out bladder stones. If you suspect your dog or cat has bladder stones, the vet will first review your pet's medical history and recent symptoms.

A physical examination, including palpating the bladder, can detect discomfort or inflammation. Additional tests may include:

  • A urinalysis to rule out infections.
  • Blood work to check for blood-related conditions.
  • Tests for electrolyte imbalances.

If bladder stones are suspected, an x-ray or ultrasound of the urinary tract can confirm their presence.

If your pet passes any stones in their urine, these can be used to confirm the diagnosis. Discuss with your vet about collecting these stones as samples, as identifying the type of stone will help determine the best treatment and prevention strategies.


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