Kidney Stones in Dogs

What exactly are kidney stones? How are they formed? How do you treat them? And what does it all mean for your Miniature Schnauzer's health?


Kidney stones are mineral deposits that form overtime and although less common than bladder stones, if fragments of stones interfere with fluid flow, they can cause serious complications for your Miniature Schnauzer. 

To understand why these deposits form, we must first understand how the kidneys work.

How the Kidneys Works

A simple explanation of how the kidneys work:

The kidneys perform several influential duties for the body. Their main job is to maintain a balance of chemicals in the blood by filtering out the excess minerals and toxins as urine. 

So blood enters the kidneys and the filtration process of blood begins. The waste collected and removed produces urine. The urine drains from the kidneys through a system of tubes (ureters) into the bladder. The bladder serves as a holding sac until a certain amount of urine has been collected. When the bladder becomes full, it sends a message to the dog that it is time to release the urine and the dog will have the urge to eliminate.

When the dog urinates, the excess minerals and toxins of the body are released. The urine leaves the bladder and drains to the outside through the urethra.

The photo below shows this entire process... from the kidneys, urine travels down the ureter into the bladder. As the bladder fills  your Schnauzer gets the urge to urinate and sends the urine out of the body via the urethra.

Schnauzer Urinary Tract, kidneys
Mini Schnauzer Urinary Tract
Bladder, Kidneys, Ureters, Urethra

Warning Signs of Kidney Stones

Stone Formation:

When the kidneys lose their ability to keep out the excess minerals, crystals begin to form. Although small at first, once a stone begins to grow in size, it can block a dog's ability to eliminate the impurities from the kidneys. This blockage will cause your Schnauzer severe pain and he/she will need medical attention right away.

Warning Signals

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in Urine
  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

This is a very serious condition. So if your Schnauzer begins to exhibit any of the above warning signals, take your dog to your vet immediately. Your Vet will do a complete blood count, urinalysis, as well as take x-rays and perform ultrasounds on your Miniature Schnauzer to identify the mineral content of the stones as well as, determine the size, shape and location of the stones.

Treatment

Treatment for kidney stones will vary but it will probably include putting your Miniature Schnauzer on antibiotics, fluid therapy, and/or a special diet (which must be adhered to explicitly).

After a few weeks of treatment the stones should begin to dissolve. If not, surgery may be necessary.

There are a number of causes and risk factors that may contribute to the formation of stones in the kidneys. If your Vet can determine the underlying cause(s), (genetics, diet, medications, urinary tract infection, etc…) treating and controlling these factors may help prevent your Miniature Schnauzer from suffering any re-occurrences.


Struvite and Calcium Oxalate Stones

Urolithiasis is the condition where stones form in the urinary system (stones of the kidney and bladder). The most common types of stones found in dogs are struvite and calcium oxalate.

The Miniature Schnauzer is considered a high risk breed for developing stones. Females are more more susceptible to developing struvite bladder stones and males, calcium oxalate stones.

Struvite stones are comprised of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate and account for more than one-third of all stones found in the urinary tracts of dogs. They are almost always accompanied by bacteria that create a high alkaline pH.

• Avoiding alkaline foods (bananas, apricots, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, beets, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash) may help prevent such stones from forming. 

• A more acidic diet would include foods like chicken, beef, eggs, fish, yogurt, cottage cheese, brown rice and beans.

Since most struvite stones form when there is a bladder infection, the general rule is... no infection - no bladder stone.

Calcium oxalate stones are primarily caused by high levels of calcium in the urine. The most common sign or symptom is trouble urinating. In order to prevent such stones from forming adjustments should be made in your dog's diet to maintain normal calcium levels.

• Avoid Feeding Your Dog these High Oxalate Foods: asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, green beans, okra, peanuts (peanut butter) summer squash, blueberries, soy products, spinach, sweet potatoes.

• Acceptable Foods to Feed Your Dog: chicken, turkey, eggs, rice, pasta, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, bananas and melon.

Diet will not dissolve calcium oxalate stones but may help prevent new ones from forming. Also cortisone medications should be avoided as they can increase the risk of stone development. Surgical removal of these type of stones is usually necessary.

Struvite Stones

Calcium Oxalate Stones

Photo courtesy of Joel Mills (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons


Prevention Tips

Prevention is always the best medicine. Here are some tips to help keep stones from forming in the first place. 

WATER: Be sure to always have pure, clean, filtered drinking water available for your Schnauzer. You can also buy distilled water and even add some to your Schnauzer's food.

ELIMINATE: Dogs prone to urinary tract infections should be allowed to relieve themselves more often. So let your Schnauzer outside every hours so he can relieve himself.

DIET: Since prcessed foods contain chemicals, consult with your veteriarian about a more natural diet for your Schnauzer that could include chicken, eggs, and fish. Also ask your vet about adding dietary supplements like apple cidar vinegar or cranberry extract to your dog's drinking water.

DETOX: Eliminate toxins naturally. There are several things you can do to help detox your dog. And by making a few simple life changes, you'll help to alleviate some of the stress placed on the organs responsible for removing toxins, like the kidneys.


PetAlive Kidney Support

Herbal remedy for pets that promotes kidney and urinary tract health

  • Promotes urinary tract health.
  • Supports kidney and endocrine function.
  •  Supports water balance and fluid regulation.
  • Supports the kidneys in carrying out the natural function of converting Vitamin D to its active form.
  • Maintains the normal production of certain hormones, including those involved in red blood cell formation and blood pressure regulation.
  • Supports the routine excretion of waste products produced during metabolic activities in the body.

Drops may be mixed into a small amount of food or added to a bit of water and syringed into your pets mouth 2-3 times per day.

Disclaimer: No medical claims or advice is ever given by Schnauzers-Rule.com. The information on our website is provided as informational and educational purposes only. By using the website you acknowledge, understand, and agree that all decisions regarding the health and well-being of your pet are completely your own. At no time is the website information intended to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, always consult your Veterinarian. Also, keep in mind that veterinary medicine and information changes rapidly, so some information on this website may be out of date. Never disregard professional veterinary advice or delay in seeking professional veterinary assistance because of something you read or saw on Schnauzers-Rule.com. And never give your dog any medication without first consulting with your veterinarian.

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