Stones in the urinary tract are common in dogs and cats. They also occur in other mammals and even reptiles.

The medical term for bladder stone is urolithiasis, or cystic calculi. Even though dogs and cats do get kidney stones, bladder stones cause more problems. Typical symptoms include straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and urinating frequently or in unusual places. Some pets have no symptoms until we find the stones while looking for a different problem on a radiograph.


This bladder stone appeared in an X-ray of a dog.

The more common stones form through the mineral content of the diet, the pH of the urine and the presence of bacteria. A couple of these factors can be controlled. Treatment may include dietary modification, dissolving the stone with a specific food, or removal by surgery. We use the laser at our hospital to incise the bladder for stone removal. It’s dramatically more comfortable for the pet to use the laser as opposed to the scalpel blade.

Prevention is key and requires diligence on your part so that your pet does not experience this problem again. Your vet may prescribe medication or a specially formulated pet food. Be sure to ask him or her for a recommendation.

Be sure to include plenty of water for your pet to drink. Do not add salt to the water to encourage drinking, as the salt may promote calcium formation in the urine, which may in turn set the stage for another stone. The prescription pet food will contain the appropriate amount of sodium.

Our website has detailed information on this disease, including surgeries of bladder stone removal.