Gallstones in Dogs

Gallstones in Dogs: Causes, Signs and Treatment

Gallstones (stones in the gallbladder) are normally consist of calcium or other produced substances. Gallstones occur in dogs, but, the bile in dogs is different from that in human beings because it has low cholesterol saturation. In truth, in dogs there is generally lower cholesterol and calcium stone composition than in people. Mini Schnauzers, Poodles, and Shetland Sheepdogs might be inclined to gallstones. Stones in the bile ducts or the gallbladder may show up on an X-ray, or they may not. Unless there are severe symptoms, surgery is not recommended for gallstones.

The condition or disease explained in this medical short article can affect both dogs.

Symptoms and Types of Gallstones in Dogs

There are cases where there are no apparent symptoms. However, if there is an infection in addition to the gallstones, the dog may display vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice.

Gallstones hardly ever cause disease. When it does take place, disease is generally seen in middle-aged to older dogs, and might be more typical in small-breed dogs. Signs include throwing up, jaundice, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, fever, and discomfort after consuming, but lots of dogs show no signs. Gallstones are diagnosed by ultrasonography. Because stomach ultrasounds are being utilized more regularly, gallstones are being diagnosed more frequently in the last few years.

Causes of Gallstones in Dogs

There are a number of causes for gallstones that will be considered. A failure of the gall bladder to function can interrupt the bile circulation, or the bile might be sludging; the bile might be supersaturated with pigment, calcium, or cholesterol; stone formation might be brought on by inflammation, an infection, a growth, or the shedding of cells; or, the stones may bring on swelling and enable the intrusion of bacteria.

Low protein can result in the development of stones in the gallbladder in dogs.


In pursuing a conclusion for the reason for cholelithiasis (a medical condition resulting from the formation of stones in the gallbladder), your veterinarian will have to verify or dismiss illness of the liver, pancreatitis, swelling of the bile duct or gallbladder, and a gallbladder distended by an improper build-up of mucus.

A complete blood count will be bought to search for bacterial infection, obstruction in the bile duct, or other underlying factors that could be causing the symptoms. X-rays are not generally very effective in taking a look at the gallbladder, however your vet will probably wish to use ultrasound to make an internal visual evaluation. Ultrasound imaging can discover stones, a thickened gallbladder wall, or an over sized bile tract. This can likewise be used as a guide for the collection of specimens for culture. Should surgery be recommended, a thorough examination of the liver prior to surgery will be required.

Gallstones in Dogs Treatment

There is argument over whether an attempt to medically liquify the stones is appropriate if the dog does not appear to be in threat. If intravenous (IV) treatment is indicated, your dog will have to be hospitalized until it is stable. In many cases, exploratory surgery will be the treatment route selected. If this is a chronic issue for your dog, new stones might form even if there is surgery to remove the existing ones.

Medications that can be used to treat the stones, and any associated complications, will be pills to help liquify the stones:

  • vitamin K1 will be offered intravenously if the patient is jaundiced;
  • vitamin E will be recommended if high liver enzymes or inflammation in the liver and bile duct are diagnosed;
  • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) might be prescribed to improve liver function and bile production;
  • Antibiotics might likewise be warranted to treat involved infections, bacterial complications, or to avoid infection when outdoors intervention needs to be used (e.g., IV, surgery, or any treatment that demands entering into the body).

Living and Management

A fat-restricted, high protein diet is most likely to be recommended for the long term.

If your dog had surgery, a health examination and screening will be needed every two to 4 weeks for as long as your veterinarian recommends it. Regular ultrasound tests to evaluate the ongoing functioning of the liver and bile system will be required. You will need to expect any unexpected beginning of fever, abdominal pain, or weakness, because it may suggest infection from a breakdown in the bile functioning procedure.

Also read: Gallbladder and Bile Duct Inflammation in Dogs

Diet for Dog with Gallstones

Vets typically advise a high-protein, fat-reduced diet for dogs who have actually experienced gallbladder issues.

If the gallstone is large enough to cause an obstruction in the future or is already causing one, surgery may be thought about by your vet. Frequently the veterinarian will eliminate the whole gallbladder, and a dog can live a healthy life without the organ, so long as they get strict monitoring and dietary requirements. This is typically the case with chronic gallbladder concerns.

Modern vets normally use laparoscopic surgery, which is less intrusive and leaves dogs with an outstanding chance of recovery. Preventing gallstones with a balanced diet, specifically with breeds who have a predisposition, is the best service and will stop issues before they even exist.

D. Roberts (Junior Expert)
He is a specialist in the field of veterinary medicine, and pet care. Believes that the person responsible for each pet, which was taken into the house, and therefore should study his behavior, means of determining health status and methods of first aid.
Pet Health
Comments for 'Gallstones in Dogs'

  1. Donna

    I was feeding my poodle the wrong way, and it got gallstones. As I before him is to blame!

  2. Chloe Santana

    My terrier started vomiting and had a fever so I decided to take him to the veterinarian. I was worried sick for my pup and the vet ran a load of tests to find out what was wrong. It was the damn gallstones! He had to be hospitalized but after a brief treatment at the vet clinic I took him home and he’s recovering now. I keep my fingers crossed hoping that he will be alright 🙂

  3. Mary1968

    Same thing happened to my son’s beloved shepherd. He vomited once and then I noticed yellow spots in his eyes as a clear sign of jaundice. So we took him to the vet and he performed an X-Ray but there were no gallstones to be found. He prescribed some medicine but it didn’t quite help. I have no idea what to do now. Should I maybe consult a different veterinarian?

    1. JennyTheSaviour

      You should definitely do that. A different opinion on the matter will come in handy for sure. The main thing, don’t do any treatment for your dog yourself, leave it to the professionals. Comfort your son and stay strong! Much love <3

  4. Xx_JoshTheSlayer_xX

    Ugh, this is some nasty stuff. I’ve once seen a video on the Internet of the extraction of those gallstones from the dog. It was an educational video for learning veterinarians and idk how I came across it. But it was something I will never be able to forget… BTW, the guy in the video kept the extracted gallstone as a souvenir or something LOL

  5. Patrick_OS

    After finding out that my dog has a gallstone inside I keep him on a strict fat-restricted, high protein diet. Luckily, we didn’t have to have a surgery performed on him for there are no severe symptoms or anything but I’m definitely gonna keep my eye on him from now on…

  6. Tabitha Hughes

    Gallbladder and stones. I want to talk to you about the symptoms and treatment of a gallbladder that is in distress. How it got that way and how to identify if for surgery ASAP. MY 8 year old dog had been having lymph nodes that were inflamed. I had two biopsies. Both came back neg for cancer but they both showed a blackish/greenish sludge. I asked both Drs about it being gallbladder related because what the heck else is green in the body. Why she was producing bile that was settling in her nodes, I can’t say. But I knew it had to be gallbladder related. This was 3-6 mo prior to her death. She showed no other symptoms of being in distress but I had insurance on her and I wanted to know why she kept getting these inflamed lymph nodes. Well time went on and one day she stumbled in as if she had gotten into the back of my shed where there were dead sticky rose limbs. She had them all over her. My husband said that it appeared she had a seizure. She seemed fine other then that and I choose to wait until the next day after work to take her to the vet. I wasn’t sure if it was poison but she began to go down quickly. They gave her fluids that I was against after the first bag. I knew she would have to eliminate it and unless she was outside she would not go. They didn’t have time to fool with her also so they sent her to stay overnight at the Er clinic. They thought it might be poison also and she could be cared for overnight at the emergency clinic. She was again giving her fluids. I begged the dr to please use a needle and remove the fluid. I guess he thought I meant going into to her bladder. But I could tell she wasn’t taking in fluids into just her bladder anymore. She was lethargic and puffy. I knew that she had free fluids in her abdomen. One of tests showed low blood platelets. So this dr refused to go in and take off any fluids, for fear of knicking an organ. I said I would take that chance because if they didn’t get the fluid out she would essentially drown, which she did the next morning after giving her a ultrasound that they could not read. Also they had her almost upside down. I asked them to please hold her body up because of the fluid. They didn’t listen. They said it was her liver. I decided to take her for exploratory surgery and while on the phone with my husband they were trying to rush me out during rush hour traffic to a clinic 10-20 min away. She passed while I was on the phone.
    I preformed my own necropsy at the vets office I had worked at for years. When I first opened her fluid went everywhere. It was so sad. Then as I kept going down I finally reached her below her diaphragm. Her gallbladder was the size of a a tangerine.

    I took pictures with one of the girl’s phone as mine was dead. But the dr came by and as he squeezed her gallbladder said well this Is why she died. I said I know I wanted pictures and to see if I could see any stones in her bile duct or that bladder he destroyed. I also was never sent the pictures to write a paper on.

    I recalled a few years back when she was pregnant and I believed she was ready to have them. Another veterinarian that I had been seeing got a new ultrasound and wanted to test her knowledge on the size and time of delivery. I read the same thing she did and I said she will have them tonight they are ready. She said three to five more days. Well I had a beautiful easy delivery that night. When I took her home and took her temp it was dropping and about 10 pm she began having them. I think she had 6.
    Anyway I remembered during that ultrasound she stated that she may have a kidney stone and showed me on the picture she took of the ultrasound. So as a concerned parent I after a few days I docked the tails and took them all in to be checked out. I then began wanting to get rid of any kidney infection so we took a sample that turned out ok. I honestly believe it was a gall stone. I know that this vet was not very bright because she tried to help me do the necropsy. And didn’t even get below the diaphragm before saying her diaphragm was to high. I said thank you and went to my next vet, who allowed me to do the whole thing. I actually as a PhD biochemist wanted to write a paper and put all the lab results in it and submit it to the journal of veterinary medicine. But I have yet to do so. What are your thoughts on it?