Mary's dogs are members of her family. She enjoys writing about her furbabies.
Shih Tzus and Bladder Stones
I am writing this to make people more aware of bladder stones in dogs, not to alarm anyone. As pet owners, we have come to recognize problems or symptoms with our animals, but we were totally unaware of this potentially fatal occurrence. We would never have suspected a dog that is not quite three years old of having bladder stones! If an animal can’t urinate, they will become toxic and can die. If your dog seems to be having difficulty urinating, and if the urine looks cloudy or bloody, get it to a veterinarian! This problem seems to be more prevalent with cats, but now we know it can happen to dogs, too. If I get some good answers as to the cause of these stones and prevention, I’ll write more on that subject.
About the Shih Tzu
Even though Bailey is a Shih Tzu-Schnauzer, she seems to have more of the features of a Shih Tzu. This breed is known for their wonderful personalities and their intelligence. They are small dogs. The traditional long, silky coat will reach the floor if it’s left to grow. People who show these little dogs let their hair grow long, and they are quite beautiful. If the Shih Tzu is kept strictly for a pet, they are usually kept in a puppy clip. They have these large, round expressive eyes that can melt your heart. They are very playful and loving little guys. There are various theories of the origins of today’s Shih Tzu.
One theory is that it stemmed from a cross between a Pekingese and a Tibetan dog, the Lhasa Apso. Dogs during ancient times were selectively bred and seen in Chinese paintings. A lot of these dogs were brought to the United States after World War II, when returning members of the US military brought them back from Europe.
Bailey Had Bladder Stones
When Bailey was three years old, my granddaughter, Tiffany, called to tell me that she was concerned about Bailey. When she took the dog for her early morning walk, Bailey would squat and try to go to the bathroom but would not be able to. She kept trying, and after a while, it was evident that something was wrong. Tiffany took her to the veterinarian who immediately took X-rays. She had about 20 visible little stones in her bladder! He anesthetized her, put in a catheter to drain her bladder, and pushed a large stone that was blocking the urethra back up into the bladder. He informed Tiffany that surgery was necessary to remove the stones.
The surgery was performed to remove the stones, and after Bailey woke up, Tiffany took her home.
All during the experience, I was worried about Bailey, of course, but I was worried about Tiffany, too. Bailey has always been such a healthy little dog, and it was hard for us to believe that this was happening to her.
Causes and Prevention of Bladder Stones
At the time, a week elapsed since Bailey had surgery to remove the kidney stones, and I had a lot of concerns. What can we do to prevent this from occurring again? Was it the dog food? Was it the water? I worked with a veterinarian for many years, and I can’t recall ever seeing a dog come in as a patient with bladder or kidney stones. Are they doing something different now in manufacturing dog food? Remember the scare several years ago where they found contaminated dog food? Maybe it’s the preservatives they put in the dog food? I have friends who cook chicken, rice, and vegetables for their dogs. They don’t trust commercial dog food. I sure don’t want this to happen to my Schnauzer. I certainly wouldn’t mind cooking for her.
The stones they removed from Bailey are yet to be analyzed. The vet says he will know more about recommending her diet when he gets the reports back. Since the veterinarian sells dog food in his practice, will he tell Tiffany to cook for her, or would he rather sell her the dog food that he carries?
Dogs are much less prone to disease of the bladder and urethra as compared to cats. According to Wikipedia, these stones occur in 1% of dogs. They are composed of crystallized minerals, such as struvite, oxalate, urate, cystine, or calcium phosphate. Certain breeds are more prone to have kidney and bladder stones, and the Schnauzer is one of them.
Bailey Goes to College
Tiffany couldn’t miss class the night she brought Bailey home, so she took her to school with her. She said Bailey just slept on her lap the whole time. The professor never said a word. It’s been four days since all this happened. Bailey is still not her old, playful self. Her appetite is not good, and Tiffany is finding it hard to make her drink water. Because she is a young dog, we are hoping for a full recovery. I’m anxious to see the old Bailey again, and I know Baby, my Schnauzer, wants to chase her around and around the rose bush again.
Bailey Is Well Enough to Attend Graduation
Bailey made a complete recovery from her bladder stone surgery. She is back to eating well and playing and we are all happy about that.
Three Years After Surgery For Bladder Stones
It has been almost three years since Bailey had bladder stones. She has not had a reoccurrence of bladder stones.
She eats only a prescribed food from the veterinarian for dogs prone to kidney stones, and I encourage her to drink lots of water.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2011 Mary Hyatt
guy on November 10, 2018:
I hope all is good our little guy had them as well he is all good now but still unsure what causes it thks
Mary Grace on July 28, 2017:
My dog, Brad is a Bichon-poodle mix breed. He is also 3 and was diagnosed the other day of having bladder stones. He will undergo surgery this coming Monday 7/31. Thank you for writing this article. This helps a lot. Wishing Bailey more years to come!
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on June 23, 2014:
Hi, Mel Carriere Bailey has not had a occurrence with bladder stones I'm happy to say. She really had us worried there for a while.
I love the Shih Tzu too, and I have a real fondness for the Miniature Schnauzer since I have one of those. Oh, goodness, I love them all...well almost all.....
Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 22, 2014:
Poor little pooch. I love the little Shih Tzus, and the Schnauzers can be friendly as well, though they are a little touch and go. I am glad the dog had responsible owners that got it the correct treatment. Great hub!
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 28, 2013:
I do hope your Bubba does well after the surgery. I'm sure he will be fine. Our Bailey has not had a nonoccurrence of bladder stones. She eats a special diet to help with the problem.
Thanks for reading this Hub and I do hope it helped you with your problem.
denise481 on October 28, 2013:
My Shih Tzu is having surgery this am to remove his stones. Over the weekend the Vet had to put in a catheter to allow Bubba him to urinate.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 08, 2013:
Hi, midget38. I never realized the Schnauzer has so many health problems. I still think it's a wonderful breed but they are prone to back problems, kidney problems, etc. I wouldn't trade my dog for anything, but people do need to be aware of these problems.
Thanks for reading. Tell your cute doggies Hi for me. Mary
Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 07, 2013:
Hi, glad that Bailey is fine and could attend graduation! Now that my Schnauzer is old, I would be concerned about whether these develop in her. Thanks for sharing and will keep this for reference!
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 07, 2013:
Hi, NMLady. So nice to "meet" you! I've never heart of slippery elm added to a dog's water would help with preventing bladder stones. I'll research that suggestion. Thanks so much for adding to this discussion.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on January 07, 2013:
Good Morning, Peggy W. Oh, yes, our little canine loves can get all kinds of diseases, but bladder stones was a new one for me. So far, Bailey has not had another episode with them, and I sure hope she never will. She is on a special diet from the Vets, and we make sure she has plenty of water to drink.
Thanks for reading, and for the share, Mary
NMLady from New Mexico & Arizona on January 06, 2013:
a pinch of slippery elm in her water. It works.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 06, 2013:
As you well know, dogs can get just about any disease people can get. Hope that Bailey will never again be troubled with bladder stones. Am sure it was a concern and expense your granddaughter certainly did not need. Nice professor to allow Bailey in class on your granddaughter's lap! Will share this hub so that others can become aware of the symptoms and take precautionary action if needed. Owning a beloved pet does incur some costs! People should also be aware that things like this can happen.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on May 19, 2012:
Hi Didge. I'm so glad you read my Hub on bladder stones in our dog, and thought it was great. Thanks so much. Goodnight.
Didge from Southern England on May 19, 2012:
Great hub! I really appreciated reading it.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on May 15, 2012:
Hi Cindy, I am SO sorry about your little dog and her problems with stones. I don't think the diet you were feeding her (rice, chicken) gave her stones. From what I can research, this is a problem with the breed itself. Please don't blame yourself. The research I did also seems to think that once a dog gets stones, they will probably get them again, which seems to be the case with Gracie. I have had kidney stones and even lost a kidney because of them, and the Dr. tell me I will probably get them again: just drink lots of water! Its hard to make a dog drink lots of water! I sure hope she will be OK. Good Luck.
Cindy Messer on May 14, 2012:
Hi I have a small Shih Tzu named Gracie As I am writing this I was researching Kidney and Bladder stones in these breeds. Gracie is hospitalized right now as I write This will be her third bladder surgery X rays show she has more bladder stones and now Kidney stones. My local vet (we live in a small town) says they are not equpped to deal with the kidney stones and will have to refer her to a specialist. I love my baby with all my heart but I cannot afford a specialist. I told them to go ahead with the bladder surgery for the third time. I m afraid she won t pull thur as she isn t eating anything When I first got her I was cooking her chicken, rice and veggies and my vet said that was probably what gave it to her. They put her on the Royal Cain SO but she wouldn t hardly eat it. so I would buy her the little tubs of Beneful so I m not sure If I contributed to her problem or not. I really confused as to what to do with her I certainly don t want to loose her. I understand what all u are talking about but I don't think the cause of the stones in the bladder and the Kidney are clear.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 31, 2011:
Hi melbel, we are still waiting for the lab results to tell us what kind of stones Bailey had. Thank goodness I have pet insurance on both of my dogs because so far, the bills are around 3,000. I cook for my other dog, Baby, now: no more commercial dog food. Thanks for reading this, and I do hope Chip will be fine now. The Vet has told us that stones tend to be reoccuring.
Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on October 31, 2011:
My cat, Chip, had struvite crystals and he had to have a perineal urethrostomy which was very expensive. I initially started hubbing to help make up for the cost of his surgery, but fell in love with the community and continue to write here.
I wish you the best of luck with your baby. I hope Bailey starts feeling better ASAP.
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 28, 2011:
Hi Gypsy, I've done some research on this subject since our experience with Bailey, and I'm definitely going to start feeding our little dogs a home cooked diet. I think commercial dog food has too many preservatives (just like human food does). Baby and Bailey would love chicken livers, that's a good suggestion, thanks!
Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on October 27, 2011:
One more comment cause I just remembered. Ages ago a woman who had a large G?rman Shephard always bought and fed him chicken livers. She would fry them up a little for him so that they wouldn't be completely rare and he thrived on this diet. Well occasionally I believe she gave him some chicken meat but always a bit cooked. Just passing this along because if a big dog did well this way why not Bailey?
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 27, 2011:
Thank you Gypsy and Sid for your well wishes. We are so afraid we might become a reoccuring problem. I think a change in diet is necessary, maybe home cooking would be good.
Seeker7, I responded twice yesterday to your nice comment, but today it is gone! Don't know what happened.
Thanks for your well wishes, too.
Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on October 27, 2011:
Hugs and kisses for Bailey may she soon be her old self. I know God is standing by. My cat Sid sends a hearty MEOW! Love those pics.
Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on October 26, 2011:
An excellent hub and both are such beautiful dogs. That is so sad about Bailey. Do you think, with only 1% of dogs getting bladders stones that it might be genetic? Perhaps one of her parents had the same condition? It's just so hard to take in that a dog so well looked after, and so young would develop such a nasty condition - poor wee thing, hopefully she will be fully recovered in a short space of time!
Mary Hyatt (author) from Florida on October 26, 2011:
Hi rhsadowske, we still don't have the report from the stones. I really think she is going to have a special diet. That's interesting about your dog. Thanks for the input. I've made a note of the medication you mention. Bailey is so young to have had stones, and I'm afraid she'll get them again! Glad your dog hasn't had anymore.
rjsadowski on October 26, 2011:
Our Brussels Griffon, "Frankie Blue Eyes" has had surgery twice for bladder stones. The second time, they re-routed his urethra from his penis to behind it so the gravel can pass more easily. The internal medicine specialist also put him on potassium citrate and methenamine to help prevent the formation of stones and he has been OK for several years now.
Joseph De Cross from New York on October 25, 2011:
Very cute Mary!
Shih Tzus seem to be the kind of dog I would get, besides a cocker spaniel.If Bailey loves lizzards, he might like the Geico Lizzrd..that takes only 15 min... in trying to convince you to switch. Lovely hub!Thumbs up!/ I mean... voted up!
stephanieyip on October 25, 2011: