How Much Does Dog Bladder Stones Surgery Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

Bladder stones (uroliths or cystic calculi) in dogs, just like humans, will form due to the crystals which form in the urine.  These crystals, over time, will form when the salt concentration is too high in the urine.  If this level is too high, then the excessive amount will form these crystals, joining together, ultimately forming the “stones.”  As time goes on, these stones can cause irritation, discomfort or in a worst-case scenario, they can get stuck within the urethra, causing an obstruction of the urine flow — a problem which calls for an emergency vet.

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How much does bladder stone treatment cost for a dog?

To confirm your dog has bladder stones, the vet will more than likely perform a variety of tests, including a urinalysis, radiography, ultrasound and/or bloodwork.  A dog urinalysis can cost $65 to $175, while an x-ray, depending on the number of shots taken, can range from $50 to $200.  Lastly, if an ultrasound is performed, this can cost another $250 to $500.  Just for the diagnosis alone, this can cost anywhere from $365 to $850+ just to confirm the dog has bladder stones.  Bloodwork, often recommended for dogs older than seven, can cost another $100 or so, but bloodwork will be performed only before a surgical procedure to see if the dog is healthy enough for surgery.

Now, if the dog, after the tests are performed, is confirmed to have bladder stones, then the vet will determine the best course of action in terms of treatment.  The costs of treating these bladder stones will depend on the treatment option considered, your vet, the inclusions in the bill, the size of the dog and your geographical location.  Treatment options can include dietary management along with medicine, an urohydropropulsion, surgery or laser lithotripsy.  The exact treatment option will depend on the size and number of bladder stones present.  With various treatment methods, we broke down the averages in the table below:

Treatment OptionWhen PrescribedAverage Cost
Prescription Dog Food/MedicinePrescription dog food will often be the number one option as long as the bladder stones are manageable. This prescription-based dog food will be specially formulated to dissolve the crystals along with antibiotics to treat a urinary infection if present. Even after the bladder stones are gone, your vet may recommend your dog stays on the prescription-based food for life.$40~ per 8-pound bag + $5~ for 30 Amoxicillin tablets
UrohydropropulsionThis technique may be used if the stones are smaller and are dislodged in the urethra. During this procedure, a urinary catheter, while the dog is sedated, will flush the bladder with a sterile saline solution.$375 to $800
Laser lithotripsyNot commonly found at many veterinarian offices, this treatment, guided by a laser, breaks up the stones in order for them to be passed naturally. As compared to the other surgical methods listed here, this process is less evasive and has a faster recovery time.$1,000 to $1,500
Surgery (cystotomy)Surgery, usually the last resort, will only be recommended if the dog food and/or diet plan is not working according to plan and/or if the stones are too large to pass naturally. Known as a cystotomy, a surgical opening is created in the wall of the urinary bladder while the dog is anesthetized.$700 to $1,700 total

NOTE:  Remember, the costs above will not include the diagnosis.  As mentioned, it is best to budget and add $350 to $850 to the totals.

A member of this ThePetsForums.com forum thread asked if a total cost of $1,600 to $2,300 is a fair price for bladder stone surgery, and according to one response from a member who did work with a dog rescue, she claimed the bill, at a minimum, will often be in the $1,500 to $2,000 range.

At the PitbullForum.com, one member was quoted $1,100 for a cystotomy, with $500 already invested in the diagnostics, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and ultrasound.

The extra costs to consider

Even after any treatment regimen, your vet will still ask you bring your dog in for multiple visits so that he or she can perform a urinalysis to ensure the crystals are not forming.  As mentioned, each urinalysis can cost an additional $65 to $175, but in some cases, your vet may include these follow-up visits in their surgical quote.

As mentioned in the table above, there is a good chance your dog may prescribe a prescription-based dog food for life.  If this were the case, plan on budgeting more for the dog food and additional vet visits for the prescription.

Depending on your vet’s billing practices, they may bill anesthesia and/or sedation as an additional expense.

The symptoms of bladder stones in dogs

The biggest red flag is often frequent bladder infections

The dog is straining when urinating

There is blood in the urine

The urine has a unique/foul smell

You notice your dog is urinating much more than average or the dog is only producing a smaller-than-average amount

If the crystals made its way into the urethra, causing a potential obstruction, then the dog may be vomiting, showing a lack of appetite and/or doesn’t have the energy he/she used to have

What causes bladder stones in dogs?

A urinary tract infection may be present

The urinary bladder lining is inflamed

A reduced water intake

An increased amount of salt found in the urine

Higher-than-average pH levels in the urine to cause the stones to form

Tips to know

Prevention, according to the VCA Hospitals, can be preventable, depending on the chemical composition.  As there are four types of bladder stones — struvite, urate, cystine and calcium oxalate bladder stones — a special diet and/or antibiotics, in most cases, can cause the recurrence of some stones.

As for recovery, vets will want to wait until your dog is able to urinate on their own before they are sent home, and depending on how the surgery went, this could take up to three days.  Most dogs, according to PetHelpful.com, are back to themselves after three days.

To save on dog food, there are some homemade dog food bladder stone-based recipes online which may help.  Always consult with your vet before proceeding.


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