Our dog may require bladder surgery due to stones; need advice - alternatives?

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Our dog may require bladder surgery due to stones; need advice - alternatives?

This is a discussion on Our dog may require bladder surgery due to stones; need advice - alternatives? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Is the pain of hospitalisation and surgery worth the outcome? Do you have personal experience with more difficult surgeries on your dog? After going to ...

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Old 12-15-2015, 07:59 PM
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Question Our dog may require bladder surgery due to stones; need advice - alternatives?

Is the pain of hospitalisation and surgery worth the outcome?
Do you have personal experience with more difficult surgeries on your dog?

After going to 4 vets, we have learned that our little mix-breed rescue doggie has what is highly likely a bunch of stones rolling around (and also stuck) in his bladder that are making it hard for him to pee properly.
The vets think it's a genetic fault that is causing them and that they'll be hard to control with diet, but it may be possible. He is about 5 years old.
To make things harder, he appears to have blood pressure problems under anesthetic and sometimes in normal situations as well.

As retirees, we are not especially well-off, but have always put our rescue dogs and cats first. Thousands upon thousands were spent by us on trying to save our (older) dogs from cancer and other age-related diseases, but without any real success. This is the first time a younger dog is sick and we don't know if his emotional and physical pain will be worth the outcome, as he's got some deeply ingrained trauma and fear of being left alone.

The vet said there's a real chance we'll end up with a dead dog when we went to the (apparently) best hospital in the state.
Due to a bunch of factors, the thousands of dollars for the treatment/operation are going to hit extra hard and have long-term consequences, but we'll manage as we always have done before.

So, we don't know if the risks of the hospital surgery are worth him going through the ordeal of separation, tests and procedures. Before surgery, the vets want to try a 48 hour hospital stay with catheter and IV to flush out the stones.

Is there any medication available to reduce potassium levels in the blood (due to poor urine flow) and dissolve the stones?

Please share your advice or experience of similar situations. Thank you!
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:00 AM
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Some stones can be dissolved, if they are nearly entirely struvite. Fortunately, the majority of stones in dogs are struvite. Unfortunately struvite stones take weeks to months on a special diet to dissolve. And struvite stones in the urethra rarely dissolve and have to be repulsed back up into the bladder in order to make it easier of the dog to urinate... if there are stones in your pets urethra, they are more likely NOT struvite stones but something more like oxalate, and therefore NOT the kind of stones that will ever dissolve, no matter what diet you use.

As for a pet surviving the pain and trauma of hospitalization and surgery, I have to say after doing hundreds of bladder surgeries on dogs with stones, I have never seen, nor even heard of even one dog dying from the experience. Most seem to tolerate hospitalization very well, and in most cases that pain of surgery can be well managed (though not entirely eliminated) with medications. Bladder surgeries tend to heal very rapidly and even after a major surgery in which a bladder has to be opened to nearly its entire length, they tend to only bleed for 1-2 days afterward and seem to be healed in well under a week.

The only hard part is getting stones that are well lodged in the urethra out... some have been there for months, becoming more and more imbedded in the walls of this narrow tube of very sensitive tissue. It can take a lot of time, force and patience to get those stones (sometimes jagged and pointed, like miniature jacks) loose and dislodged and finally flushed back up into the bladder where they can easily be extracted.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:35 PM
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What I would do if I was in your situation is go for the surgery. Talk to your vet, or call some out of state to get a better opinion, and talk about different kinds of anesthetic that may help his issues when going under. The vet that told you you may have a dead dog is being a little over-dramatic. There are several options with stones and surgery doesn't need to be the only one. You can try the diet method but if it doesn't work it would be harder in the future to remove the stones through surgery, if you understand what I mean. Of course it is always up to you and your little doggie. I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong!) that he is a small/smaller dog. That can also be a factor to surgery.

Make sure is on a well based diet (NO TABLE SCRAPS) prior to the surgery and make sure he always has plenty of fresh clean water. This may also help with his blood pressure issues.

I hope I helped some and I am NOT a vet or professional dog caretaker person. I just have a passion for animals and believe that they should all have the best chances at life.
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Old 12-31-2015, 11:00 PM
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My dog (the beagle in my profile pic) had bladder stones over a year ago and emergency surgery was our only option and well worth it. It was in her urethra trapping all the urine into her bladder, which was beginning to tear. There were quite a few pea sized ones and there are about 6 docs in the practice and each one of them had to come in to try to get the stuck one out, it was wedged in there that badly. I believe it was a 4 hour procedure and she was observed overnight at an emergency vet clinic due to the intensity of trying to get that one out they wanted to make sure that she was peeing ok. That added to the normal cost of the surgery. It was about $1600 after everything was said and done. She was 4 at time and knowing that we have another 10 or so years with her and it would have been devastating to tell my kids that there was something we could have done but we wouldn't do it. We love this dog like a family member and she's just awesome. I didn't realize how much she was a part of our lives until she was gone those 36 hours for surgery.
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