Bladder stones are mineral crystals that form in the kidney and move to the bladder where they are referred to as “bladder stones.” Dogs tend to have either struvate or urate bladder stones. The latter, termed hyperuricosuria, are the kind reported in Aussies. Urate crystals form from uric acid and grow in the kidney from where they pass to the bladder, and sometimes out of the urinary tract. Dogs with urate stones may have bloody urine, urinate frequently, or strain upon urination. You may see gritty material in the dog’s urine. Your vet will examine the dog and may run blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. Positive diagnosis is made with ultrasound or contrast radiography. It can be confirmed with a DNA test.
Urate stones can be painful and even life-threatening. In some cases surgery may be needed to remove stones. The disease cannot be cured but can be managed with medication, diet, and regular veterinary monitoring. Fortunately, the condition is rare in Aussies but it is inherited. Dogs affected with hyperuricosuria should not be bred. The DNA test should be used to determine status of relatives who might be bred and carriers should be bred only to clear-tested dogs.