Why Bladder Stones and Crystals are Formed
By:Tippy and Alfred
Bladder Stones and Crystals in Dogs and Cats.
Bladder stones, or uroliths, are stone-like mineral deposits
that form in the animal's urinary bladder. Bladder stones may
occur as a single deposit, or consist of many smaller pieces.
They can be large and take up most of the bladder, or be
fine particles that are passed when the animal urinates.
Urolithiasis refers to the formation of stones (calculi or
uroliths) in the urinary tract. Calculi can be found
anywhere in the urinary tract, in the kidneys, the
ureter or the bladder, but are most common in the bladder.
Kidney stones are mineral deposits that occur in the kidney.
However, they are not as common as bladder stones.
There are several types of bladder stones.
* Urate (un-common)
Understanding How Crystals Are Formed:
We know that the ideal urine Ph (which reflects the Ph of the
entire body chemistry) should be slightly acidic with a Ph of
6.4 to 6.6.
To understand what is happening here, we also need
to know a little bit about what Ph is and what it means.
The Ph scale was set up from 0 to 14, with 7 as midpoint.
The scale was based on pure sulfuric acid and pure calcium.
The pure sulfuric acid representing the extreme acid
end and the pure calcium representing the extreme
In reality, the Ph scale is a measure of resistance between
acids and bases, the resistance is actually an electrical
When the Ph moves toward the 0 mark, what is really
happening is that there is an increase in the potential
current flow because there is decreasing resistance to
electrical flow. As this electrical flow increases,
there is subsequent, automatic increase in magnetism.
As the Ph moves toward the 14 mark, there is a decrease
in electrical flow potential because of the increased
resistance. And a decrease in magnetism because of the
lessened electrical flow.
Typical Ph Meter
The Ph of 6.4 to 6.6 is the point where the best electrical
flow is produced. Above those figures means the magnetism
is not ideal for picking up minerals from digestion into
Likewise, below those figures, there will be the same type
of problem. Above 6.6 there is too much resistance, not
enough electrical flow, and reduced magnetism. Below
6.4 there is not enough resistance, with too much current
flow and too much magnetism.
Either way: mineral energy does not get picked up in
the digestion as it should be in the proper ratios.
The major mineral responsible for Ph movement in the
body is calcium.
There are 7 different types of Calciums.
Calciums which move the Ph acidic are: Phosphate of
Calcium and Sulfate Calciums (calcium lactate)
Calciums which move the Ph alkaline are: Calcium Carbonate
(the major constituent of Tums), Carbonate of Magnesium
(dolomite), Oxides of calcium (calcium gluconate),
Tri-Calciums, Hydroxide of Calcium (lime water).
Thus, the more the Ph would move alkaline, the digestion
would be lacking in the acidic calciums. And vice versa,
the more the Ph would move acidic, the digestion would
be lacking in alkaline enhancing calciums.
Said another way, the more acidic the Ph moves, the less
alkaline calciums there are for proper resistance. The
more alkaline the Ph moves, the less acid producing calciums
This is the Major reason why the body forms stones and
concretions in various organs and tissue. When the Ph shifts
for a long period of time in one direction, it also causes a
lack of certain other types of calciums. This makes it look
as if there is too much calcium in the tissue, when in fact
what is really happening is that there is Not Enough of
the other types to properly balance the body chemistry!
Remember: the urine Ph tells us what has already happened
in the digestion. Thus, if we have a dog or cat with an acidic
urine Ph, we would know that the mineral balance in the diet
for that animal would not be right for that animal, and we
would expect to find that oxalate type crystals would
have the best chance of forming.
If the urine Ph would be alkaline, (over 6.6) then we would
expect to find that struvite type stones would form.
Understand also that the varying presences of calcium also
affects the uptake and balance of other minerals in the body.
In other words, too much of one type of calcium in the diet
and not enough of another would affect the uptake and
ratio of magnesium, phosphates, potassium, carbon, etc.
There is also an effect on the uptake of oxygen and the
balance and amount of enzymes that are produced for
digesting proteins, because the amount of mineral used
to form these enzymes are not being picked up efficiently
from the digestive processes.
Another consideration we need to discuss is the presence
of a compound called urea in the urine. Urea is composed
of nitrate nitrogen (nitrogen oxide) and ammonia nitrogen
(nitrogen sulfate) and represents the amount of un-utilized
proteins that are to be removed from the body.
Ammonia is toxic to the cells of the bladder wall and its
presence generates inflammation. The proteins released
in the inflammatory reaction form a matrix which the struvite
crystals use to form an actual stone. The reaction takes place
only in an alkaline pH but the presence of ammonia also
helps to create the alkaline pH needed for stone formation.
Along with the inflammation, there is usually a subsequent
infection which almost always is Staphyloccocal infection but
occasionally a Proteus infection. However, the Staphyloccocal
bacteria are also capable of digesting urea. So we have a
situation where the infection is actually helping to
eliminate the excess urea.
But in the final analyses, what we need to do to Prevent
stones from forming in the first place is: Provide a balanced
diet to the dog or cat that will formulate a urine
Ph of 6.4 to 6.6.
Remember: at that urine Ph, the digestive organs are operating
on the line of least resistance, at the highest efficiency....
the digestive enzymes are being formed with the correct mineral
balance and are able to "pull" enough mineral out of the
food to provide the body with enough of the right calciums,
in the right amounts.
When the body is given the right calciums, this affects the
uptake of other mineral and oxygen and thus stones will not
be pre-disposed to form.
Diagnosing The Types of Stones
The same symptoms that occur with a bladder infection may
occur with bladder stones, specifically: straining to urinate
and blood in the urine. Sometimes, if the stones are large
enough your veterinarian can feel them through the abdominal
wall. However, failure to feel them does not rule them out.
Most bladder stones can be seen on an x-ray, or with ultrasound.
Some stones may not show up on an x-ray. In those cases
they can be seen by placing a die that shows up on x-ray in
Some animals with bladder stones show no symptoms of any
kind and the stones are discovered incidentally but there are
some symptoms that might promote a search for stones.
Bloody urine, recurrent bladder infection (especially by the
same organism), or straining to urinate all would raise
Struvite stones are “radio-opaque” which means they show
up readily on radiographs.
The stone type can be absolutely confirmed if a sample stone
is available; a laboratory analysis can easily determine
the content of the stone.
What To Do About Stones:
Occasionally stones are simply passed. If this occurs, it is
important to have radiographs taken to check for the presence
of more stones. If possible a sample stone should be turned
in for analysis to determine for certain the stone type.
Struvite stone can be removed surgically, removed with a
special technique called “voiding urohydropropulsion,” or
dissolved via diet.
Surgical removal is the most direct method of removal. The
advantage is that the stones are removed and healing may
commence all in one day. The chief disadvantages are those
inherent to surgery: anesthetic risks, post-operative pain,
risk of contaminating the abdomen with infected urine,
possibility that not all stones will be removed, possibility
that the bladder stitches will not properly hold.
Voiding urohydropropulsion” involves filling the bladder,
agitating the bladder so the stones float freely in the urine,
and then generating a high pressure urine stream to force
the stones out. This technique only works if the stones are
small and if there are numerous stones present, often
several attempts are needed if this is to be the only means
of removal. This technique is used to obtain a sample stone
for analysis to determine if dietary dissolution is feasible.
Stones in Cats
There is a general consensus in the veterinary profession
that the cause of the accumulation of magnesium ammonium
phosphate in cats is diet (i.e. consuming the mineral compound).
Cat food manufacturers report the amount of this mineral
as the "ash content" on their labels. In the late 1980's,
researchers at the University of California, School of
Veterinary Medicine tested cats' ability to dispel the "ash"
by feeding two magnesium compounds, magnesium chloride
(an acid) and magnesium oxide (an alkali), to two groups of cats.
Those cats fed the alkaline magnesium developed magnesium
ammonium phosphate crystals. Those fed the acid form
did not develop the crystals. In fact, some crystals dissolved
in the acid form of the compound. The conclusion is that the
Ph of the urine influences the formation of magnesium ammonium
phosphate crystals in cats and stones in dogs.
Some cat food manufactures have increased the acidity of
their products to prevent the formation of magnesium ammonium
However, only 1% of the American cat population has this
urinary problem and feeding this acidic diet to the other 99%
can cause the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, which
is just as catastrophic.
Preventing stones in cats is the same as preventing
them in dogs: Provide the right diet that will result
in a consistent urine Ph of 6.4 to 6.6.
Abundance Premium Dog and Cat Foods are scientifically
formulated to provide your dog or cat with a urine Ph of 6.6.
That is why we at PetCareTips feed the Life's Abundance foods
and Daily Supplements to our precious pets.
For more information on Stones:
Stones in Dogs and Cats
Note: Tippy had bladder stones, not once, but twice! Surgery
was required to remove them both times. The diet the vet put Tippy
on the first time...Didn't prevent them from happening the
It was only when we put Tippy on the Life's Abundance Premium
Dog food and Daily Supplement, that the stones quit forming. Read
Tippy's complete story about her stones at the above link)
We are NOT going to tell you that any food or supplement
will prevent or cure any specific metabolic condition in your pet.
Please Do NOT email or call us and ask if these products will
cure, ease, mitigate or prevent stones, crystals or any
similar metabolic condition in yours or any other pet. Please do
NOT go to the HealthyPetNet site and email them, you will get
an email back directing you to this page again.
We are not licensed veterinarians.
We understand completely what you are going through, you
have our sympathies and compassion, but it is against the law
to tell you anything more than what has been said on this page.
Plus you must also read our Disclaimer and
realize that this
information is to be used exclusively for entertainment and
education and not be construed as suggesting or implying that
we are in any way shape or from practicing veterinary medicine.
We will tell you that Tippy no longer has any problems at all with
stones forming and we attribute (this is our opinion only and
not the diagnosis of a licensed veterinarian) the reason to the
change in diet by feeding her the Life's Abundance food and
It is your choice whether you decide to try these products or not.
Stones are a serious problem and half way measures will not
provide you with the results you are seeking.
Should you decide to Find Out More about the same products that
Tippy and Alfred are using, here are the links
Tippy's Favorite Premium Canine & Feline Dining Experience Here
Back to General Pet Care Tips
Library of Dog Breed