Tag: radiographs

Welcome to The (Bladder) Stone Age

Bladder stones are no joking matter!
While kidney stones are fairly common, another type of stone that can develop are called bladder stones. These stones are made of the build-up of minerals in the urine that collect in the bladder, producing a single or multiple crystallized, rock-like structure(s). They can range in size, making them very difficult to pass on their own. These can be very painful and even damage parts of the urinary system.

Causes of bladder stones:
There are several causes attributed to bladder stones.

  1. Mineral Crystals: Urine that contains an abnormal amount of specific minerals can potentially form bladder stones. There minerals are magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and ammonia. These are all minerals that derive from our diet.
  2. Urine pH: pH is an indicator of how acidic a liquid is. The urine of cats and dogs are typically acidic, meaning that they have a lower urine pH. An abnormal pH reading is a good indicator of an infection.
  3. Bacteria: Some stones are caused by bacteria in the urine. Bacteria in the urine can be discovered by running a culture & sensitivity plate. The urine is spread across a culture plate and placed in an incubator. If there are any bacteria present, it will grow on the plate and the doctor will determine what the best antibiotic would be for the patient. Bacterial infections can alter the pH of the urine, which can lead to crystal formation.
  4. Abnormal Metabolism of Minerals: A pet’s system can inappropriately be metabolizing the minerals leading to the formation of crystals in the urine. Some breeds are more prone to this than others.

The stones can develop anywhere between weeks or over a period of months. The rate of growth can be anywhere between a couple weeks or a few months depending on the crystals present or the degree of infection.

Symptoms:
The typical symptoms of bladder stones can be straining to urinate or only producing small amounts of urine frequently. Blood may even be visible in a pet’s urine as well. Sometimes, a pet will be noticeably uncomfortable during urination, appearing lethargic or unwilling to eat or drink.

Diagnosis:
To diagnose bladder stones, a veterinarian will typically perform a urinalysis. The urinalysis will give information regarding the pH, increased white blood cells, protein and bacteria which will aid in diagnosis. The presence of crystals will alert the veterinarian to do further testing.

The presence of crystals can indicate that a bladder stone is growing or is already present. Some bladder stones can be felt during a physical exam by your veterinarian but typically, your veterinarian will request radiographs or an ultrasound to be performed to confirm a potential diagnosis of bladder stones.

stonesTreatment:
After a confirmed diagnosis of bladder stones, your veterinarian will decide how to proceed. Some stones are able to be broken down with medication or specific kidney diets but more often than not, surgery to remove the stones will be performed so as to prevent further pain to the pet. Surgery can be performed either with a laser to break down the stones or through surgical removal of the stones.

Specifically in male dogs, the stones can get lodged in their urethra, causing immense pain. These stones cannot pass on their own and will need to be removed through flushing and subsequent surgical removal.

After the stones are removed, your veterinarian will recommend sending the stones out to a laboratory for further testing so as to ascertain what type of minerals are present

Case at TLC Animal Hospital:
We had a patient this past year who was diagnosed with bladder stones. Dr. Richardson was the attending surgeon and removed the bladder stones during a cystotomy surgery. The pictures are shown below. We are pleased to say that the patient has made a full recovery and is being monitored for prevention of re-occurrence.

stones2

Prevention of re-occurrence:
After surgery, your veterinarian will recommend prevention of further stones. While some pets can achieve this through a diet formulated to promote kidney health, others may require long-term medication. This will depend on the type of dog and also what type(s) of crystals are removed. Some breeds can be predisposed to formation of stones no matter what prevention is taken and should be placed on a medication regimen. The veterinarian will advise on what they think is best. Pets may need to come in periodically to recheck or culture their urine and bladder x-rays to monitor the kidney function.

Always make sure that your pet has access to fresh water and the ability to go to the bathroom. This can go a long way to preventing recurrence. Pet food that has more moisture will increase the amount of water that your pet receives and minimize crystal formation.

Sources:
https://www.lbah.com/word/canine/bladder-stones/
https://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/bladder-stones-in-dogs
https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/urinary-stones

By: Madison Cole

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Wellness for All Ages

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France

Senior Wellness

At TLC, we recognize that no two animals are the same. We respect their individuality and their

individual needs throughout all stages of their lives. Unfortunately, aging is a fact of life and can take its toll on the body. That’s why we specialize in senior wellness and care. We monitor senior pets closely for age related changes so that we can address developing medical conditions as soon as possible.

We work with you to create and customize a care plan for your pets as they age so that they can remain happy and comfortable in their later years and so that you can spend as many years with them as possible.

Some of the services that we offer and recommend for our senior patients include:

Extensive Bi-Annual Examinations

Pets age at seven times the rate of humans. It is for this reason that we recommend bi-annual examinations for all of our senior patients. The Doctor will check your pet from nose to toes looking for any physical changes that need to be addressed or monitored. This includes monitoring their weight, listening to the heart and lungs, checking their eyes and ears, palpating their abdomen and checking the joints for stiffness or discomfort.

Bloodwork & Urinalysis

While a physical examination is vital to your pet’s healthcare, there are several conditions that simply cannot be diagnosed by just looking, listening, and touching. Chemistry and hematology blood tests and urinalysis provide a detailed look at your pet’s health from the inside.

Radiographs

As pets age they experience many changes internally such as changes in their organs and joints. Radiographs give us a better picture of what is happening inside the body and allow us to address and monitor these changes. All radiographs are reviewed by board certified radiologists who can help identify and diagnose these changes and make additional recommendations for care.

Blood Pressures

Just like humans, dogs and cats can also suffer from high blood pressure, especially as they get older. Hypertension in pets is often caused by some other underlying disease and thus is a very important wellness screening tool. All senior pets should have a screening blood pressure with every exam.

Ocular Pressures

Glaucoma is a serious condition where the pressure of the eye becomes elevated. It can be extremely painful for dogs and cats and can cause irreversible, rapid blindness. It may not be obvious to pet owners when they eye is only mildly affected so it is recommended that screening pressures be performed twice a year. Medications, when administered regularly, can help to lower eye pressure and slow down vision loss.

Schirmer Tear Tests

As dogs age, they frequently develop a condition called KCS or dry eye. Many breeds such as Shih-Tzus, Pugs and Boston Terriers are pre-disposed to this condition. It can be painful and lead to other damages to the eyes if left untreated. Schirmer Tear Tests allow us to monitor the eyes’ ability to produce tears. Medications can be prescribed if needed to ensure that your pets’ eyes stay properly lubricated.

Laser Therapy

Our Class III Therapeutic Cold Laser is specifically designed to treat pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Low level laser light has both anti-inflammatory and immunostimulate effects. Following a laser session approximately 75-80% of clients that have patients being treated notice improvement in their condition.

Medication Therapy

There are many pet-safe medications available to relieve arthritic discomfort and pain. These medications have been tested for long term use in pets. We can recommend and prescribe these medications based on your pets’ personalized wellness plan.

Geriatric Boarding

As pets age, many require care beyond basic boarding. That’s why we offer Geriatric Boarding for our senior patients. This service is available for pets that are physically restricted and/or have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to stay at general boarding facilities. Our team is specially trained to deliver exceptional care to senior pets including monitoring them closely while here and administering their medications. All senior boarders are walked every hour and we provide hygienic baths as needed to make sure that they remain clean and comfortable.  You can have confidence that your pets’ are receiving the care that they need while you are away.

In addition to beds and mats, we also provide Pet Cots for our boarders. Unlike regular bedding which has been known to clump and become uneven, Pet Cots evenly distribute a pet’s weight and relieve stress on the joints. The raised design protects pets from excessive cold, heat & moisture and yet is low enough to the ground to allow older pets to climb step easily on and off the cot.

Products
In addition to providing senior specific services, we carry a variety of products that address age related changes including:

  • Purina Neuro-Care, a diet designed to promote healthy brain activity and joints in aging dogs
  • Hills J/D, high levels of glucosamine and fatty acids promote healthy joints
  • Therapeutic Diets for medical conditions such as renal disease
  • Planet Dog “Old Soul” Balls  Senior dogs are only as old as the wag of their tail. The Old Soul Ball is designed to address the issues dogs experience as they grow older and wiser: reduced vision and snout strength, weakened jaw muscles, and brittle teeth. High contrast colors make the Old Soul Ball easy to spot, and the extra mint makes it easier to sniff out. The material is given extra pliability to offer a satisfying chew that’s easy on the gums and snout

By: Tara Sansing