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).
Further discussion of medical treatment, as well as dietary therapy, surgery, and lithotripsy, is provided elsewhere (also see Urolithiasis in Small Animals Urolithiasis in Small Animals Some mineral solutes precipitate to form crystals in urine; these crystals may aggregate and grow to macroscopic size, at which time they are known as uroliths (calculi or stones). Uroliths... read more , Urolithiasis in Ruminants Urolithiasis in Ruminants Obstructive urolithiasis is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in male ruminants. Uroliths form from protein and mineral components of the diet. They develop in the urinary bladder... read more , and Urolithiasis in Horses Urolithiasis in Horses Obstructive urolithiasis is relatively uncommon in horses and affects primarily older animals. Calcium carbonate stones are the most common type. Clinical signs include dysuria, pollakiuria... read more ).
For More Information
Lulich JP, Berent AC, Adams LG, et al. ACVIM small animal consensus recommendations on the treatment and prevention of uroliths in dogs and cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2016;30(5):1564-1574. doi:10.1111/jvim.14559