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Signs of Kidney Stones in Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

If your dog has kidney stones, he might exhibit symptoms such as vomiting and bloody urine. It isn't unusual for dogs with the condition to lack symptoms, however. Kidney stones are commonly referred to as "nephrolithiasis."

Kidney Stones Causes

When a dog has kidney stones, bundles of stones emerge within the urinary tract or kidneys. These are known as "nephroliths." The urinary system's responsibility, among others, is to extract waste as liquid. Mineral wastes occasionally are merely faintly insoluble, and as a result create crystals. When it takes the crystals a long time to travel within the urinary system, they can interact and turn into stones.

A handful of different factors can cause kidney stones in dogs. These include:
• Genetic defects.
• Diet.
• Dietary supplements.
• Medications.
• Existing urinary tract infections.

If a dog's diet leads to increased urine pH, for example, kidney stones could occur. Kidney stones are somewhat rare in canines.

Vulnerable Dogs

Kidney stones are more prevalent in females canines. They're also more common in middle aged dogs. Despite that, dogs of all age groups have the potential to develop them. Dogs of certain breeds are particularly susceptible to kidney stones. Vulnerable breeds include Lhasa apso, miniature poodle, miniature schnauzer, cocker spaniel, Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier.

Possible Symptoms

Possible symptoms of kidney stones in canines include:
• Vomiting.
• Bloody urine, or "hematuria."
• Excessive urination.
• Pain with urination.
• Repeated urinary tract infections.
• Stomach pain.

Dogs don't always display signs of kidney stones. Owners in these situations only discover the problem after veterinarians perform diagnostic tests to assess for other ailments.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Veterinarians generally diagnose kidney stones by evaluating your dog's medical background and conducting a physical examination, urinalysis and ultrasound imaging. They also attain actual segments of nephroliths for assessment purposes. This can aid them in diagnosis verification, pinpointing mineral content and establishing suitable treatment plans. An X-ray, biochemical profile and complete blood count can help in the diagnostic process as well.

Common treatments for kidney stones in dogs include stone dissolving diets, surgical extraction of the stones, fluid therapy and antibiotic therapy. Fluid therapy is appropriate for dogs who have intense infections or dehydration. Antibiotic therapy is suitable for dogs who have existing urinary tract infections. Despite that, antibiotics aren't effective at eliminating the actual stones. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is yet another treatment option for kidney stones.

Stone dissolving diet treatment plans are extremely strict. Dogs who are placed on these diets are not allowed to consume any other foods or snacks. Eating other foods can cancel out the results of the stone dissolving diet.


  • If you notice any potential signs of kidney stones in your dog, see your veterinarian without delay. Since not all dogs display symptoms of kidney stones, regular veterinary checkups are important, as well.