Diagnosis of Urolithiasis

Cathy Langston, DVM,DACVIM, Kelly Gisselman, DVM
Douglas Palma, DVM, John McCue, DVM
August 2008. 

Diagnostic imaging is usually required to determine the presence of urolithiasis. Double-contrast cystography is more accurate than survey radiography and approximately as accurate as ultrasonography. Knowledge of the mineral composition of calculi helps direct appropriate management of urolithiasis, and signalment can help predict composition with about 70% accuracy. In cats, about half of cystic calculi are struvite and half are calcium oxalate; most nephroliths and ureteroliths are calcium oxalate. In female dogs, struvite uroliths are the predominant type found in the bladder. In male dogs, breed plays a strong role in prediction of bladder urolith type. It is difficult to predict the composition of nephroliths and ureteroliths based on signalment alone in dogs. Urinalysis and imaging findings can help in predicting urolith composition, although chemical analysis is necessary for definitive diagnosis.

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