Our dogs love routine especially around when they eat, play, poop and pee. When a part of the routine is different or takes longer than it should there is cause for concern. Sometimes we see our dogs taking longer than normal to pass urine and sometimes they will try to pee many more times through the day than normal even making accidents in the house.
Changes in urine habits can be caused by a number of conditions the most common of which are infections. In female dogs infections are the number one reason for altered urine habits. The number one reason in male dogs and number two reason in female dogs are stones in the bladder or urethra.
Bladder stones are hard, rock-like concretions that form from the aggregation of crystals prevalent in the urine. These crystals can occur naturally in some dogs and in other’s these crystals can be caused by infections or diet. When these crystals aggregate into a stone in the bladder, they cause quite an irritation which alters the pee routine and can sometimes completely plug up the water works. When dogs are unable to pee there is significant pain and it can be life-threatening.
The kidneys make urine by filtering out the body’s waste so, when there is no flow of urine, waste builds up in the body and makes our pets ill. The only way to get our pets back to health is to get rid of the stone causing the problem.
Often times and especially when there is a blockage, surgery is needed to remove the offending stone and get the urine flow back to normal. Sometimes, though, if a stone has been caused by an infection and there is no blockage, a change in diet along with an appropriate antibiotic can be used to dissolve the stone. This prevents the need for surgery.
Stones in the bladder are no fun so if your dog’s bathroom habits change, having a urine sample checked and even an x-ray taken of your dog’s bladder can help diagnose this painful problem. An early diagnosis allows your dog to be treated before any long-lasting damage has been done and quickly gets them back to their daily routine.
Written by Dr. David Kerr, DVM