Interestingly, some pets may exhibit no clinical signs of bladder stones at all, with the stones often being diagnosed when your pet has an X-ray for some other health reason or clinical complaint. Other pets will commonly experience painful urination with urgency, bloody urine, restlessness, and inappropriate urination in the home. Pets with bladder stones attempt to urinate too frequently. The urine may be red or port wine in color.
Urinary tract infections are commonly associated with bladder stones. If smaller stones lodge in the urethra, painful urinary tract obstruction may occur. Obstruction is a medical emergency that needs to be relieved as soon as possible, due to severe blood poisoning and potential kidney failure.
An abdominal X-ray is the most important diagnostic test used when clinical symptoms indicate possible bladder stones or there is a history of recurrent urinary tract infections. Most types of bladder stones appear readily on an X-ray. Urate and cystine stones, and stones smaller than three millimeters may be harder to see on the X-ray. In these cases, special contrast X-rays may be needed, or an ultrasound of the bladder. Although urine analysis may identify crystals, analysis of the surgically removed stones is necessary for accurate diagnosis and identification of the stone type.