Bladder stones and crystals are a big problem for dogs in Hong Kong, and are one of the most common reasons for surgical intervention.
Poorly balanced pet diets are notorious for being very high in magnesium and phosphorus, and when large amounts of these minerals are released into the bladder they can crystallize and form stones. Over time these stones grow and can eventually become very large – up to the size of an orange. Bladder stones cause irritation and discomfort to the bladder, and can cause blockage of the urine leaving the bladder. This is a potentially life threatening problem.
A high quality diet, appropriately chosen for your pet’s age and breed, will prevent bladder stones in nearly all cases. Both dry food and wet (canned) foods are safe, as long as they are balanced and nutiritous. We carry a range of diets specifically formulated with stone prevention in mind. If caught early, some stones can also be dissolved using a special diet. Urinary diets can be found here.
We would also recommend a good balanced supplement, preferably containing glucosamine, which has been shown to help coat the bladder and prevent crystal and stone formation. A couple of excellent supplements can be found here.
Common signs of bladder stones include blood in the urine, passing small amounts of urine frequently or difficulty urinating. If you see any of these signs you should discuss with your vet immediately. During examination your vets will feel for stones, and in some cases an x-ray or ultrasound may be required. Animals with stones usually need to have them removed surgically, and are then placed on a special diet to prevent new stones from forming. This is a very treatable problem but if left unchecked it can become extremely serious.