Today I bring you another Veterinary related post regarding a pretty common condition in emergency medicine : Bladder Stones AKA Uroliths
This is a radiograph of a dachshund spaniel mix breed dog that was lethargic, vomiting and having trouble urinating.
Luckily, this was an easy diagnosis for us as this image is crystal clear and practically shouts bladder stones! That giant star shaped white opacity is one giant stone, surrounded my tons of medium and smaller stones. Ouch! Unfortunate for the dog, but can I just say that the fact that this stone is shaped like a star really made my night.
Sometimes bladder stones can be managed on diet and increased water intake but only if they are very small and sparse in numbers. That sort of treatment option will not work here. The only option for our friend "Penny" is surgery.
So if you are not familiar with this sort of surgery let me tell you how it works. We will place a urinary catheter prior to surgery to remove any blockage but also to drain bladder and flush bladder during surgery. An incision is made into the abdomen to access the bladder. Another incision is made in the bladder to access the stones. We use cystotomy spoons to remove the stones from the bladder. This is where the urinary catheter comes into play. An assistant (me) will continuously flush saline into the bladder via the catheter to make sure all tiny stones, crystals, and debris are clear from the bladder. It is important that everything inside is sterile. Once the bladder is empty and flushed out the vet will suture it closed. Usually, the vet will lavage the entire abdominal cavity afterwards as well with saline to ensure there was no contamination because the bladder is considered "dirty". Getting urine , crystals or stones into the abdominal cavity is not a good thing. After that, the patient is sutured back up and awoken from anaesthetic. The urinary catheter is generally kept in place 24-48 hours post surgery depending how badly damaged the urinary tract was. It is a great way for me to track how much urine is being produced, the colour, consistency, and concentration. All factors that we can use to determine how well Penny is recovering and will help to treat her better.
The fun part of all this is the stones. We always keep what we find to show the owners, and sometimes send to the lab for analysis to find out what sort of stones they are to supply better prevention in the future. I took a photo with the stone next to a loony so you can see how large it is. There was about 18 stones in total in this poor girls bladder. Imagine having that sitting in there for a large period of time. Again, Ouch!
Urinary issues can sometimes seem less important but can actually end up being the most dangerous. Especially if your pet has a urinary blockage. If you think your pet may be blocked or become blocked it is important to see your Veterinarian right away. Look for signs like straining, bloody urine, peeing outside litter box, and small frequent urination. Also if there has been no urine production within 24 hours, you should start to investigate.
Hey guys, let me know if you enjoy reading Veterinary Technician POV posts and I will do them more often. Also if you have a pet issue of any kind let me know and I can try to post about that too !