Small mammal bladder stones are a common problem in both wild and captive small mammals, such as rodents, chinchilla, guinea pigs, and rabbits. These deposits can form due to diet, bacterial infection, or a combination of factors. Sludge is a thick accumulation of urates, phosphates, calcium carbonate crystals and other waste products that can form on the walls of their bladder, causing irritation and infection.
Stones are hard masses that form in the bladder when these same deposits become mineralized. Signs of stones can include urine staining their fur, blood in their urine, difficulty urinating and other signs of pain or discomfort.
Treating small mammal bladder stones often involves surgery to remove them. In some cases, antibiotics and dietary changes can be used to treat the underlying cause of the problem. It’s important to always get veterinary care for any bladder stone issues in small mammals as they can be painful, and if left untreated can lead to life-threatening infections.
Symptoms of Small Mammal Bladder Stones
- Urine staining on their fur
- Blood in their urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain or discomfort when urinating
- Excessive licking their genital area
- Straining to urinate or pass feces
- Lethargy or appetite loss
Diagnosing Small Mammal Bladder Stones
Diagnosing small mammal bladder stones is often made through physical examination and imaging tests, such as radiography or ultrasound. Your veterinarian might also perform urine tests to check for infection and other underlying conditions.
Stages of Small Mammal Bladder Stones
Initial Development of Stones:
During this stage, debris and waste products accumulate in the bladder, forming a thick layer on the walls.
Stones form when deposits become mineralized and harden.
If stones are present for an extended period of time, bacteria can accumulate in them leading to infection.
Treating Small Mammal Bladder Stones
Treating small mammal bladder stone issues often involves surgery to remove them. In some cases, antibiotics and dietary changes can be used to treat the underlying cause of the problem. It’s important to always get veterinary care for any bladder stone issues in small mammals as they can be painful, and if left untreated can lead to life-threatening infections.
Preventing Small Mammal Bladder Stones
Preventing small mammal bladder stones is best accomplished through maintaining a healthy diet and making sure they’re adequately hydrated. Environmental enrichment can help reduce stress levels, which can contribute to the formation of stones. Regular veterinary exams are important to identify any early warning signs such as blood in the urine or difficulty urinating.