Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


What to Expect After Canine Kidney Stone Surgery

| Updated September 26, 2017

Removal of kidney stones (nephroliths) in dogs is often not recommended unless affected dogs have a history of them blocking the openings to the ureters. As with any surgery, dog owners will be given post-surgical instructions to follow carefully.


The surgery required to remove a kidney stone is known as nephrotomy and requires the veterinarian to cut into the kidney in order to remove the stone. If the kidney has been damaged, the vet may decide to remove it as well.


It is important to not confuse kidney stones with bladder stones, as often these two terms are used interchangeably. Bladder stones are by far the most common type of stones found in dogs, whereas kidney stones are quite rare.


After kidney stone surgery, dogs are sent home once they show signs of recovery from the anesthesia. At home, your dog may appear groggy and wobbly for the first few hours, and therefore should be kept in a crate or small room to prevent him from bumping into furniture or worse, falling down stairs.


Your dog will have a shaved area on the abdomen where the incision was made. Because dogs tend to lick incisions, they are often sent home wearing an Elizabethan Collar; a lamp shade collar used to prevent access to the surgical site.


i Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Ewen Roberts

Keep your dog quiet for the first few days, limiting his exercise to short walks to empty the bladder and bowel. The incision area should be monitored and any abnormalities such as profuse bleeding, excessive swelling or discharge should be reported to the vet promptly.


In order to prevent the formation of other kidney stones, the veterinarian will send the stone to a lab and, depending on the type, special diets and medications may be prescribed. Ensuring your dog always has access to water and follow up vet appointments will further help prevent recurrences.