How Much Does Pet Bladder Stone Surgery Cost?

Medical treatment remains to be one of the most stressful expenses plaguing millions of responsible American pet owners. And among this myriad of therapies that dogs and cats need, it is surgery that seemed to put most pet owners ill at ease.

The probability of animal companions suffering from serious injuries is enough to keep them strictly indoors – or else risk getting a corrective procedure.

But can cats or dogs need surgery while living completely indoors in the absence of possibly sustaining trauma injury? Sadly, they still can.

Degenerative conditions that progress with age would eventually render organs dysfunctional to such an extent that they would direly need corrective surgery. Among these most seemingly benign infirmities include the bladder stone (urinary calculi).

Average Dog and Cat Cystotomy Cost

The most direct method of removing bladder stones is via surgery – otherwise technically known as cystotomy. The idea is to puncture and partially open the bladder in order for the physician to methodically remove the urinary calculi after a thorough suction of waste fluids.

This bladder stone surgery is proven to be the best procedure for severe cases that involve total urinary blockage.

On average, the operation itself would transpire at around 45 minutes to one hour. However, post-op treatment requires the dog or cat patient to be confined for three days.

Although most online forums estimate the actual cost of bladder stone removal for a couple of thousand dollars, it is possible to acquire low-cost procedures from veterinary hospitals. A Maryland-based called Jarretsville Veterinary Center offers cystotomy procedure for small mammals at roughly $500.

A Virginia-based low-cost vet clinic called Helping Hands Vet has its own flat rate for cystotomy – regardless of the type of small animal companion. The estimated cost is somewhere around $655.

Related Diagnostic Tests

When it comes to comprehensive treatment from bladder stone, you will have to deal with related expenses that made the operation successful. Apart from the cat or dog bladder stone surgery cost, you also need to consider the average price of important diagnostic tests.

An Illinois-based Lakeside Veterinary Hospital charges $200 to $250 for a full-body x-ray imaging. A two-view diagnosis costs $145 while a one-view case-referral costs $60.

It also charges around $65 for the urinalysis lab test. Pre-surgical exams cost roughly $30, though it may depend on the case of the patient in question. In-house bloodwork that includes complete blood count (CBC) and chemical analysis costs a total of $130.

However, there are certain cases of bladder stone infection (e.g. cystine and urate) that prove elusive for radiography. In this particular case, sonography (ultrasound) would be a more precise pre-op method.

A New Jersey-based St. Francis Veterinary Center charges a conservative cost of $400 to $600 per full ultrasound scan.

x ray of urinary bladder stone in dog

General Symptoms

Bladder stones are a result of minerals in concentrated urine turning into crystals. Just like human beings, dogs and cats experience urinary tract infections due to these solidified particles trapped inside their bladders.

Common symptoms of bladder stones in pets are a bit similar to those of humans. These include the following clinical signs:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Physical strain during urination
  • Urinating in small volume but increased frequency
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Bladder accident (breaking house training/habits)
  • Crying out in pain (vocalization)
  • Frequently licking their genitals

Healthy adult canines relieve themselves 3 to 5 times a day. All five of the previously mentioned symptoms are keys to recognizing certain ills in a dog’s bladder movement.

One of the most obvious signs that truly give away this condition is the dog’s tendency to whimper due to discomfort. If the dog experiences obvious physical hurts during urination, you need to have your beloved animal companion checked by a veterinarian.

Most of the adult cats are able to urinate at an average of 2 to 4 times a day. The same list of earlier aforementioned clinical signs may manifest among affected felines.

But what makes bladder conditions tricky to determine among cats is that they are very good at masking their symptoms. They do not usually vocalize pain or discomfort.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to determine how certain habits have dramatically changed considering that cats are creatures of unbreakable routine.

Common & Underlying Causes

In common scientific understanding, bladder stones are a result of an imbalance in the urine pH. Nevertheless, this phenomenon does not occur on its own.

More often than not, bladder stones occur due to a perfect combination of insufficient water intake and the animal companion’s tendency to relieve itself intermittently (e.g. dog peeing once a day).

Most of the stones forming in the bladder are composed of various minerals such as ammonia, carbonates, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. It would not be surprising for the attending vet to conclude that the formation of bladder stones in a patient dog/cat is a direct result of excess minerals in the diet – exacerbated, again, by poor hydration.

Other direct causes of bladder stone include drug/supplement side effects, diabetes, adrenal disorder (Cushing’s syndrome), congenital liver shunt, and genetic predisposition. Take note: Only veterinary health experts can provide a definitive cause behind your pet’s painful bladder stones.

Types of Bladder Stones

Speaking of mineral composition, knowing which type of bladder stones takes shape inside the animal companion’s body can give vet physicians a better insight on how to approach this disease. Not coincidentally, these are the different types of well-known bladder stones:

  • Struvite Stones
    • Prevalence in dogs: 50%
    • Prevalence in cats: 30%
  • Calcium Oxalate Stones
    • Prevalence in dogs: 35%
    • Prevalence in cats: 50% to 70%
  • Urate Stones
    • Prevalence in dogs: 5% to 7%
    • Prevalence in cats: 7%
  • Cystine Stones
    • Prevalence in dogs: 1%
    • Prevalence in cats: less than 1%
  • Silicate Stones
    • Prevalence in dogs: 1%
    • Prevalence in cats: 0%

Special Mention Breeds

Unlike struvite and calcium oxalate stones, the other types of urinary calculi only afflict certain breed of dogs and cats. After all, they comprise the least portions of the gene pool in terms of prevalence alone.

This is where genetic predisposition makes the most impact as a direct consequence of bladder stones.

Urate stones, for instance, afflicts only less than one-tenth of the canine and feline species. Among dogs, the most frequently distressed are Dalmatians – particularly male ones.

Other dogs include English bulldogs and Black Russian Terriers. The feline breeds that are very prone to urate stones include the Birman, Egyptian Mau, and Siamese.

Canine and feline species affected by cystine stones are comparatively even fewer. Among cats, the highly afflicted are restricted within the Siamese and Domestic Shorthair gene pool.

For dogs, here are the breeds that are highly at risk:

  • Basset Hound
  • Deerhound
  • Dachshund
  • English Bulldog
  • Irish Terrier
  • Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Whippet

Silicate stones are almost predominantly a canine bladder issue and the incidences of it occurring among cats are too rare to even seriously document.

According to the report by the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, the following dog breeds are at risk of acquiring bladder stones with partial or complete silica content:

  • Bichon Friese
  • German Shepherd
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pekingese
  • Samoyed

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