Lasering in on bladder stones

By Susan Aielo • Published: March 4th, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Ever had a bladder stone? If so, you know what your poor pup must feel like if it gets one.

Years ago, surgical removal was the only effective treatment for dogs with bladder stones. Then it was discovered that some stones could be dissolved by months of strict dietary restriction.

Now, there may be an even easier method. A safe and effective therapy known as lithotripsy uses energy to break stones into small pieces that can be flushed from the bladder. In fact, Lithotripsy is Greek for stone crushing.

In the most advanced form of this treatment, a laser is passed into the bladder via a fiberoptic cystoscope [SIS′-TOW-SCOPE], a snakelike device for seeing inside the bladder. Bursts of laser energy are then drilled into the stones, causing them to fragment, while continuous irrigation protects the bladder tissues. No invasive surgery is required, and dogs can often go home the next day.