Bladder Stones

Visit the MS List "STONES BOARD" - a bulletin board with information on your experiences with stones-affected Miniature Schnauzers.

Post 1 of 5:

This  is a picture (above) of a portion of the oxalate bladder stones that were removed from Casey's bladder 3 1/2 years ago.  Of course, they were magnified many times. You can see how many the body can easily manufacture. Less than a year after this surgery, I noticed that Casey was drinking an excessive amount of water and also he had blood in his urine.

Immediately back to the doctor and further surgery was required.  Many times mini schnauzers' bodies just keep manufacturing them.  So, he had to undergo another surgery, this time with a complete urethoscopy. You see, many of these stones cannot pass through the small, narrow opening of the urethra.

The stones the doctor gave me the second time, (not a picture, but the real thing) are quite large.  I have one the size of a cashew and one the size of a cherry pit.

Don't be afraid of the surgery. I f your fur baby has stones, it is much more difficult to try to pass them, and dangerous too, than the surgery.  Casey has been crystal clean now for 3 years. Hooray for Casey!

I have lots of info I could fax you FYI .  So e-mail me if you want more info. Your vet should be giving you lots of info too.  Mine is terrific and mails me new literature every time he reads it.  The vets are really very pleased to have clients that take an aggressive interest.



Post 2 of 5

Here is the picture of Tillie's struvite stone (above).  Composition is stated as 94-100% Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate.  At the top of the picture is a cm ruler to get a better idea of it's size (I'd say about 1 3/4 cm).  She had five removed; they sent the largest to the lab and gave one to me in a bottle to see.  The symptoms were that she started getting me up at night to go outside.  I thought since it was summer and nice weather she just wanted to go out.  Then one night I went out in the living room in my bare feet and stepped in a wet spot.  I knew then there was something wrong, she never goes in the house!!!!  The next day while we were outside she would squat every couple of minutes.

The vet first said she had a bladder infection and we treated that with antibiotics. When that didn't cure it he diagnosed stones and surgery. I understood that the stones were caused by the infection.  Afterwards he put her on Hill's Prescription Science Diet S/D.  I have, this year, taken her off the S/D and put her back on Nutro's Natural Choice Lamb and Rice and she seems to be doing okay.  I didn't like how she looked and that she was always hungry on the S/D.


Post 3 of 5:

C/D is a prescription-only dog food which my mini hates. She had a bladder stone the size of an egg removed about 3 weeks ago. She's losing weight as she won't eat more than 1/2 can at a time-I have to give my other dogs treats where she can't see them as it makes her feel bad that she can't have anything but the CD for right now. My vet said she may be able to go to SD in a month or two-I hope so and that she will like the taste better!


Hill's c/d is used as a maintenance food for prevention of Struvite stones/crystals. S/d is used to try to dissolve them IF they are small enough. If they have not dissolved within 6 weeks, s/d won't work, as it's not recommended as a long term diet. S/d is usually recommended after surgery to dissolve any left stones or crystals, then c/d is used for maintenance.  After the initial 4-6 weeks after surgery, other diets can be discussed with your vet. (S/d will not dissolve Calcium Oxalate stones)

One-half can of either c/d or s/d is enough food for one meal; both are very high in fat content. Was your dog at the proper weight before the surgery?  Some of the weight loss could be from post-surgery, as they don't feel like eating for a few days. Give it a few more days, I think you will see your mini start to gain weight on these foods.

Yes, treats do seem to be important to our fur-kids.<smile> But at this stage it's very important not to give them; you don't want to defeat the purpose of what the diet is supposed to do.  In time, once you have the urine pH diet-controlled and she remains clear of infection, you "may" be able to add treats back into the diet, just not the ones she's used to getting. Fruits that have an acidic value to them such as cantaloupe, green grapes, apple are things my mini Meesha can have.  But please check with your vet first. You want to get control of her situation first.

I also wanted to add... for those of you waiting 4-6 months after surgery to recheck for stones: My thoughts are, why wait that long? <smile> Stones can form in a matter of weeks if the urine pH isn't at proper levels or infection reforms.  Have your vet order a roll of pH testing papers so you can monitor the urine pH at home.  Have monthly checks done for infection and crystal formation as well.  Catching these things early can prevent a future stone surgery. Prevention has been a key factor in my own dogs success story in controlling reformation of stones for the last several years.

Here are some links from the stone board that may be of help in understanding struvite stones and diet as well as understanding the importance of monitoring urine pH and infection.  There is also quite a bit of info about Calcium Oxalate stones on the stone board too.

Struvite stones and diet
More on Diets for Stones
Some Basic Stones Information-Please Read
Understanding urine pH, helpful chart
Canine Urolithiasis - from Branford Miniature Schnauzers website

Best wishes,
Kathy Thom, Stone Board Moderator
MS List co-moderator,

Post 4 of 5:

If a dog has been on SD for two months and the stones have NOT dissolved (but in fact have grown), the stones are NOT struvite stones, but are something else (of several kinds), possibly calcium oxylate, the next most common variety of bladder stones. Struvite stones are the only stone SD can dissolve....and it works VERY quickly. Sounds like time for surgery to me.

Just a reminder to folks: If your schnauzer is ever diagnosed with a bladder infection, insist on a three-week course of antibiotics rather than the more common 10 days, as untreated bladder infections are felt to be one of the most common reasons for bladder stones.

Karen Brittan -

Post 5 of 5:

I got VERY interested in bladder stones many years ago and did a tremendous amount of investigation into them, with the help of a veterinary internist. I recently wrote an article on the most common types of stones in MS which appears on the MSCC website and was published in Dogs In Canada magazine.

It is extremely important for owners to know the composition of the stones diagnosed.  It is also extremely important that they report any stone or chronic urinary tract infection problems to their breeder.

Struvite stones are the result of bladder infections.  To make a long explanation short, while there may be instances that a bladder infection is trauma or illness induced, many researchers believe that so many MS develop struvite stones because the normal defense mechanisms that fight bacteria in the urinary tract are lacking or defective in some MS.  This is why you should never leave any sign of bladder infection uninvestigated in a Mini Schnauzer. (blood in urine, frequent urination or accidents in a usually well trained dog).  The stones are not the disease, they are the end result of it.  It is my own personal belief that in the majority of MS affected with struvite bladder stones, there are inherited predispositions at work.

Many years ago I bred 5 female MS who were diagnosed with struvite stones by the age of 5. They lived in different areas and ate a variety of foods.  Some were spayed at a young age, some were breeding bitches. They had differing bathroom routines. Only one ever developed other health problems.

The only thing they had in common was their parents - all were full sisters. I do have my own suspicions on mode of inheritance, but this is not the place for such speculation.  Suffice it to say that by changing my breeding program, the problems with struvite stones and bladder infections disappeared.

So no bottled water (although mine is so hard it kills plumbing in months), no special "natural diets", no extraordinary attention to bathroom schedules.  I simply accepted the obvious and decided to do something about it.  I changed the direction of my breeding program.

Breeders who truly want to do something about this problem have a couple of tools at their disposal.  First - honesty.  Denial is the worst enemy we have surrounding this issue. The second is a comprehensive guarantee.  Inform all puppy buyers that this breed is at increased risk for this problem and offer compensation should they experience chronic bladder infections or stone problems in their dog.  Accept the fact that this problem is not likely to appear until 3 to 5 years of age and reflect this in your guarantee.  We aren't worried whether the buyer got "their money's worth" on that 5 year old affected dog - it is the information and feedback on our breeding programs that is the issue here.  Offering a refund or replacement increases the odds that you will hear about the problems that are occuring in your breeding program.

I haven't said anything about Calcium Oxylate stones.  I do believe that this is a fuzzier issue, as they generally affect old males.  However, it is important to know that they are the result of entirely different disease mechanisms (or are in humans where research is extensive).  To the best of my knowledge there has been little research into them in canines.

Cathy McMillan
Minuteman Minis