Urinary bladder stones develop when excessive minerals saturate the urine. Stones may also form in association with bladder infections and inherent metabolic abnormalities (e.g.: Dalmatians with urate stones). Pets with urinary bladder stones may show no symptoms; the stones are found incidentally when x-rays are taken for another purpose. Other patients may present with obvious signs: straining to urinate, producing small amounts of urine frequently, and blood in the urine. Stones within the bladder cause irritation but are rarely life threatening unless the stone lodges in the urethra causing an obstruction. This life threatening, painful situation must be treated immediately to prevent acute kidney failure. Diagnosis of urinary bladder stones requires imaging either with radiographs or by ultrasound. Treatment of the stones depends on the stone type and location of the stone. Stones causing obstruction must be surgically removed. Some non-obstructive stones may be dissolved with diet (e.g.: struvite), while others require surgical removal (e.g.: calcium oxalate, urate). Stones surgically removed will be analyzed to determine the composition of the stone and develop a prevention plan. Your veterinarian will discuss with you the best treatment options for your pet.