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Pharmacotherapeutics in Urolithiasis in Animals


Patricia M. Dowling

, DVM, MSc, DACVIM, DACVCP, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Reviewed/Revised Nov 2023

Uroliths are urinary calculi (stones) formed from mineral precipitates located anywhere within the urinary tract. They are common in dogs, cats, cattle, and small ruminants but relatively uncommon in horses.

Diagnosis is usually based on history and clinical signs observed on initial physical examination: straining to urinate, vocalizing, and signs of systemic illness, as well as a moderate to large, firm bladder on abdominal palpation.

In many cases, surgical intervention is needed at the time of diagnosis. With early detection, some uroliths can be managed with dietary changes and other treatments. Antimicrobials may be indicated in the treatment of dogs and cats with urease-producing bacterial urinary tract infection because of the effect these drugs have on urinary pH (eg, they promote struvite stone formation).

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