Understanding Urinary Stones in Dogs and Cats?


The primary function of urine is to eliminate waste from the body and toxic products that have accumulated in the blood. It helps to ensure the balance of the body by regulating the quantities of water and minerals removed.

What is a urinary calculus?

The urinary stones also called urolithiasis are crystal aggregates compounds preferentially localized in the bladder. These crystals, formed when the urine is saturated with minerals, can be an obstacle and prevent the cat or dog from urinating.

Urinary calculi are distinguished from:

  • struvite
  • calcium oxalate
  • ammonium urate (which accounts for 90% of stones in Dalmatians)
  • cystine

What are the symptoms of urinary calculi?

This is a urinary disorder. Be careful though, not all urinary disorders are urinary stones.

The warning signs are:

  • The animal urinates more often and in small amounts or shows an inability to urinate
  • The animal frequently licks the genital area
  • The animal stays in position longer to urinate
  • The animal shows signs of pain when urinating
  • The urine is pink, which indicates the presence of blood
  • The behavior of the animal is different and a loss of appetite is possible
  • These symptoms should alert you and encourage a visit to your veterinarian.

How to treat urinary stones in dogs and cats?

The diagnosis must be made by a veterinarian. He will then propose a treatment.

  • An antibiotic to prevent a possible bacterial infection,
  • Anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract,
  • Molecules that inhibit the formation of stones,
  • A dietary treatment: a special dietary diet that dissolves the crystals and prevents their formation through a control of urine pH (acidity of urine) and the nature and amounts of minerals in the food.
    How can I avoid my cat or dog suffering from urinary stones?

Cats are more sensitive than dogs, but both species may have stones.

In dogs, Dalmatians have an increased risk. Do not hesitate to consult our article Dalmatian and Urinary Calculus.

Here are 4 essential points to prevent the appearance of urinary calculi:

The quality of the diet: greatly influences the risk of urinary stones. A diet with ingredients of poor quality or prepared for economy (meat not separated from carcasses and cartilages) generates a high mineral content that promotes urinary stones. Dog or cat pâtés (pâtés, sachets …) are less risky in general because they contain a lot of water which lowers the concentration of minerals.

The access to fresh water: Clean water should be available at will. Our tip is to use a water fountain for cat , most love it! There are also water fountains for dogs adapted to their size. This will encourage your pet to drink.

Of good hygienic conditions “urine”: make sure that the animal does not have to remember to do his business. The cat must have free access to his bedding and the dog must be out regularly.

There are dietary foods whose composition controls the acidity of the urine and the concentrations of minerals, which has the effect of dissolving and avoiding the formation of stones. This type of diet is usually established after a first episode of urinary stones for an initial duration of 6 months, but can be extended throughout the life of the animal if necessary.


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