Bladder stones, also called uroliths, are organized concretions found in the urinary tract.
Bladder stones contain primarily organic or inorganic crystalloid and a much smaller amount of organic matrix.
Supersaturation of Minerals in the Urine
When urine becomes supersaturated with minerals, minerals can precipitate and individual crystals/stones might be observed in the urine.
Supersaturation of urine with minerals and crystalloids depends on the interaction of dozens of crystalloids formed by common mineral elements in the urine derived from the amount of each solute ingested and excreted in the volume of urine produced.
Diet and urine volume are the most important factors in stone development.
Chronic Low Grade Dehydration
Dehydration leads to increased urine concentration and increased mineral concentration.
Dry dog foods with inadequate water supply facilitate dehydration because the amount of water required to digest a dry dog food is significant.
Water is pulled out of the cells to aid the digestive process subsequently dehydrating your dog.
Some dogs form stones while others do not.
We don’t really know why.
Smaller dogs are generally more likely to develop stones, most likely due to smaller bladder size.
Smaller dogs such as the Shih-Tzu, Poodle, Schnauzer, and Dachshund are more likely to develop bladder and kidney stones.
Urinary pH is a figure expressing the acidity or alkalinity of the urine and determines whether or not urinary constituents/minerals will stay dissolved or precipitate (become a solid).
Different types of stones precipitate depending on pH and a variety of other factors.
Struvite, calcium carbonate, and calcium phosphate precipitate in alkaline urine; cysteine, uric acid, and silica precipitate in acidic urine.
Urinary Tract Infection
Bacterial infections tend to increase the pH making the urine more alkaline.
Certain bacteria such as Staph and Proteus produce an enzyme called urease.
Urease breaks down urinary urea into ammonium ions thereby increasing urinary pH.
If the conditions are right, stones may precipitate.
E. Coli is another common bacterial pathogen noted for increasing both urination and drinking.
Basically, the bladder suffers from a local immune system failure. Immune failure predisposes the bladder to urinary tract infections.
Also, many dogs fail to empty the bladder properly and completely, leading to a residual repository of bladder debris.
Knowing the causes gives you the knowledge and power to avoid the causes and to make sure your pet will never suffer from dog bladder stones.
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