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Urolithiasis is described as the presence of stones (calcium deposits) in the urinary tract. The development of these stones is more common in dogs than in cats, and in older animals. In most cases the stones can be removed safely, giving the animal a positive prognosis.
The primary cause for the formation of stones is high levels of calcium in the urine. Some risk factors can include calcium supplements, excessive dietary protein or Vitamin D, high levels of steroids, Vitamin B6 deficient diets, and the consumption of dry food only diets.
While these stones can occur in any breed, several dog breeds comprise over 60% of all cases. These breeds include Miniature Schnauzers, Lhapso Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frises, Shih Tzu's and Miniature Poodles.
Animals generally do not show signs of this issue, although trouble urinating is the most common symptom. If there is inflammation, an enlarged belly or the area surrounding the urinary region may be noticeable irritated. If the stones are large, they can sometimes be felt through the skin by a veterinarian.
X-rays and ultrasounds are performed to determine any additional underlying medical conditions causing the animal pain or trouble urinating. Also, blood work will be done to examine levels of nutrients to see if any are outside of the normal range.
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