Minnesota Urolith Center
About Our Work
The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Minnesota Urolith Center is all about minimizing pain and avoiding invasive surgery, says Dr. Jody Lulich, CVM professor and board-certified veterinarian in internal medicine. Our goal is to look at the most minimally invasive ways to diagnose, remove, and prevent urolithiasis.
A million stones and counting
Committed to the prevention and cure of urinary diseases, the center has been in operation since 1981. The center has received its one-millionth bladder stone for diagnosis. The majority of stones are from cats and dogs, and they come to the center from around the world.
“There are better, more compassionate ways than surgery for most patients with urinary stones,” Lulich says. Laser lithotripsy has proven to be quite a successful method. “You do not need to cut into healthy tissue. The laser pulverizes the stones into minute fragments that can be easily removed without surgery, and animals go home the same day with no restrictions on activity and no cones around their heads.”
Lulich also frequently recommends diet and nutritional changes that can help stones dissolve naturally and reduce the risk of recurrence.
About bladder stones
There are better, more compassionate ways than surgery for most patients with urinary stones.—Dr. Jody Lulich
How do you know if a dog has bladder stones? Common signs include blood in the urine, urine accidents in the house, muscle spasms, loss of appetite, and straining to urinate. If a dog cannot urinate at all, this is an emergency requiring immediate care.
Stones can be 2-4 inches in diameter and form primarily because of a bacterial infection. Some stones form because of genetic mutations. Breeds that are susceptible to stones include miniature schnauzers, bichon frises, Lhasa apsos, pugs, and females of large breeds (for example, Labrador retrievers).