There are numerous problems that can affect a dog’s lower urinary system:
- Bladder stones
- Urinary crystals
- Bacterial infections
- Obstruction of the urethra
For example, special formulated diets can help to dissolve urinary crystals.
Urolithiasis is a urinary tract disorder characterized by the accumulations of crystals or stones within the urinary tract.
These crystals cause irritation, pain and maybe urethral blockage.
Urinary bladder stones
Urinary bladder stones (uroliths/calculli) are agglomerates of mineral crystals that join together to form a stone in the urinary bladder.
Seldom, stones may form in the kidneys.
The urinary pH influences the growth of the crystals that lead to urinary bladder stones.
The most common type of stone/crystal is struvite, and these have a propensity to form in alkaline urine.
Other types of crystals (calcium oxalate, ammonium urate, and cystine crystals) build up in more acidic urine.
Risk Factors for urinary bladder stones
Veterinarians identified features that increase dog’s likelihood of developing urinary bladder stones.
These features include:
- Age (2 – 10 years )
- Gender: Males have a superior risk of urethral obstruction from the crystals or stones; and older female dogs and diabetic dogs are especially prone to urinary tract problems
- Urinary Infections: Cause alkaline urine, is the major cause of struvite crystal development
- Food: Food containing high levels of certain minerals in dog food can increase the chance of crystal formation in urine.
- Little water intake
- Breed Predisposition: small breed dogs are more susceptible and some dog breeds are more prone to develop urinary bladder stones, such as Miniature Schnauzers, dalmatians, yorkshire terriers and bulldogs
- Lack of exercise
- Inability to urinate frequently (indoor dogs)
Clinical signs related with urinary problems
If your dog presents urinary problems, he may be very painful and uncomfortable.
In my opinion in these situations it is vital to get in touch with your veterinarian straight away for a complete examination.
Thus if you notice any of the following common signs below you should contact your veterinarian assistant.
The role of nutrition
When your dog suffer from urinary bladder stones, it is very important to feed the accurate dog food.
Foods high in magnesium, phosphorus, protein and calcium have been linked to stone formation.
Veterinary nutritionist’s advice for treatment of urinary crystals or stones is feeding your dog a food with restricted amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, protein and calcium.
The controlled and reduces amounts of these minerals can assist in the dissolution of some types of stones that have formed in his urinary tract.
You should keep in your mind that any dog that has been treated for urinary tract disease runs the risk of contracting it again.
As a result, it’s important to carry on with the nutritional program appropriate to the disease and watch closely for the recurring symptoms.