Bandit's Bladder Stones

by: Dr. Josie Arkush from animal Care Center

Bandit is a 5 year old lhasa apso who came to the clinic with a 2 day history of vomiting and acting a bit lethargic. Her appetite had been a little decreased as well. She had been drinking, urinating and defecating normally. She had always been a healthy girl so her owners were very concerned.

On physical exam, she seemed a little dehydrated and firm structures could be felt in the bladder area.

Blood work was performed in the clinic, and her white blood cell count was slightly elevated. All other values were normal. X-rays were taken of her abdomen and 2 large structures were seen in her bladder.

Bandit was diagnosed with bladder stones.

BLADDER STONES (also called uroliths)

are structures made of mineral that can form in the bladder of dogs, cats and other animals. They usually take several years to form and can be very large or look more like sand or small pebbles. When left untreated, stones have the potential to obstruct the urethra - making it impossible for the animal to urinate. They can also cause irritation of the bladder lining which can cause lower urinary tract infections. In less severe cases, we can see mild increases in the kidney values which can cause nausea and vomiting.


do they form? Some patients can be prone to collecting a high amount of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in their urine from metabolizing their food. Over time, that mineral can clump together and form larger stones. Other times, stones can form when a patient has a long-standing urinary tract infection. Over time, bacteria can make the urine a high pH which can lead to stone formation. Less commonly, stones can form from improper protein breakdown or because of a liver shunt in an animal.


The best treatment for these is surgery to remove them. When left untreated, bladder stones can irritate the bladder, cause bladder infections, and increases in blood kidney values. Bladder stones can also travel down the urethra, causing complete urinary obstruction. This can be an emergency situation.

Bandit's owners decided that the best thing for her was to have the stones removed from her bladder. Bandit was a healthy candidate for surgery, so she was operated on later that day. Surgery was successful; Two large stones were removed from her bladder.


Some stones are very hard to prevent. Some animals can be prone to forming them regardless of the types of food or supplements they eat.