By DR BASIL SANDS
URINARY stones also called calculi or uroliths are formed in the urinary system. The most common location for the buildup of these stones is the urinary bladder. The kidneys are the next most common location for stone formation.
The most common type of bladder stones form only in the presence of a urinary tract infection. Some pets do not show any signs during the early stage of stone formation, while others have such signs as frequent urination of small quantities of urine, straining to urinate and blood in the urine. As this condition progresses, signs usually intensify. Some pets may become unable to urinate. Treatment of urinary stones consists of removal of the stones, either by dissolving them with a special diet or surgery, and treatment for any infection. After treatment, normal urinary tract health must be maintained to prevent reoccurrence.
Urine contains a variety of minerals. Some of these minerals form crystals- (Microscopic deposits of an identifiable shape). Crystals are not harmful and can be ignored unless the dog also has bacteria in her urine. Urinary stones are much bigger than crystals and are visible to the naked eye ranging in size from a grain of sand to as much as 3 inches in diameter.
Dogs can get a half dozen or so different types of stones which are identified according to their mineral make up. Some type of stones shows up well on plain x-ray, but others aren’t dense enough to be seen that way. A dog may have a single stone alone or multiple stones. If a urinary stone is found in one location than the rest of the urinary tract should be carefully checked for stones as well.
The most common type of urinary stones – (which accounts for 60-70 percent cases) is caused by bacterial infection. It is made up of a phosphate compound known as struvite, these stones form when urease producing bacteria such as STAPH or mycoplasma infect the bladder, raise the urine pH, and trigger the formation of phosphate clumps. Because of their short urethra, female dogs are more prone to urinary tract infections than male dogs, so most struvite stones are found in females.
There are many other types of urinary stones. Once they are removed surgically your Vet can send then to a lab for identification so you can take appropriate measure to prevent their recurring. The other types of stones calcium oxalate Cystine Stones Silica Stones and Calcium Phosphate. As most people are aware the Bahamas soil type is mostly limestone which is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. This means that the water source in the Bahamas will have a level of calcium which is the main component of the urinary stones.